Balasaheb Thorat, the Congress’s new chief in Maharashtra, is the party’s new hope to end the factionalism plaguing the party since its rout in the Lok Sabha polls in the state.
Thorat, a seven-time MLA from Sangamner constituency in Ahmednagar district, was first elected to the legislative Assembly in 1985 as an independent MLA, but later joined the Congress. His father, Bhausaheb, a freedom fighter who leaned towards Leftist ideologies, had also joined the Congress under the leadership of Yashwantrao Chavan and became an MLA in 1978. Thorat, whose family has always been active in the cooperative sector, served as an agriculture, revenue and school education minister in Congress-led governments until 2014. He is also a member of the Congress Working Committee, the topmost decision-making body of the party at the national level.
His appointment is also seen as an attempt by the party to restrict its diminishing clout in western Maharashtra, following a defection spree by many of its leaders to the BJP. One such defection, incidentally, was of Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, considered Thorat’s arch-rival.
Considered as soft-spoken and low-key by his colleagues, his detractors think he lacks the aggression to take on the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena government.
Jul 14, 2019 07:05 IST