New Delhi: Troubles mounted for Congress yesterday as two senior ministers - Narayan Rane in poll-bound Maharashtra and Himanta Biswa Sarma in Assam - resigned from their posts signalling their desire to replace the incumbent chief ministers.
The resignations came even as the party is battling problems in poll-bound states of Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir and also in West Bengal where three of its legislators joined the ruling Trinamool Congress.
The Congress linked resignations of the two to their “personal ambitions” and denied it would affect the party.
The party had seen its worst performance in the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year and faces a tough challenge in the assembly elections expected to be held later this year in Haryana, Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir where it is in power.
The Congress had performed poorly in the three states in the Lok Sabha polls and has faced demands for change in leadership in Haryana and Maharashtra. In Jammu and Kashmir, it has decided to contest elections on its own by snapping ties with the National Conference.
Rane yesterday resigned as Maharashtra’s industry minister, the second time he resigned in the past two months.
He had announced his desire to step down last week and submitted his resignation to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.
“I have resigned as minister but I shall continue to remain in the Congress,” Rane said, scotching speculation that he might join some other party or float his own outfit. The state Congress received another shock Saturday when seven of its Thane municipal corporators -- all staunch Rane supporters -- joined the Shiv Sena. Rane had earlier quit as minister in May after his son and outgoing MP from Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg Nitesh Rane lost to the Shiv Sena in the Lok Sabha polls after a revolt by a section of the Nationalist Congress Party there. At that time, his resignation was rejected. Rane, who was chief minister for nearly a year at the fag end of the Shiv Sena-BJP regime of 1995-99, quit the Shiv Sena to join the Congress in 2005, but never hid his ambition to become chief minister again and made several attempts to bag the post. IANS