'I am not a contender for CM post': Deshmukh

      Union Heavy Industries Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh on Friday said that he is not a contender for the Chief Minister's post in Maharashtra. Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi here, Deshmukh said he would leave the decision to the party high command. Deshmukh, who headed the State Government twice earlier, is claiming the support of 50 MLAs. It was also noted that it was Deshmukh who played a major role in the distribution of tickets. Political circle, however, feel that it would not be easy for the Congress leadership to consider Deshmukh as he has only recently won the Lok Sabha elections and been inducted into the Union Cabinet. The Congress - Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) alliance won 146 seats of the 288-seats that were up for grabs in the assembly elections. Deshmukh's statement might bring a smile in incumbent Chief Minister Ashok Chavan's camp. In his brief stint of ten months, Chavan has acquired a reputation of loyalty to the party high command and is also appreciated for handling the post 26/11 scenario in the state. On Thursday, Chavan had said in Mumbai that his ten-month tenure was not long enough to judge him. He said he was gratified by the public support and it was up to the high command to decide where he could carry on with the job.

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