Prithviraj Chavan takes over as new chief minister of Maharashtra

New chief minister of Maharashtra, Prithviraj ChavanNew Delhi:  Union minister of state in the prime minister's office, Prithviraj Chavan, is the new chief minister of Maharashtra succeeding Ashok Chavan who makes an unceremonious exit in the wake of the Adarsh Housing Society scam. Chavan held independent charge of science and technology though attached to the prime minister's office.

"Congress president Sonia Gandhi has chosen Prithviraj Chavan as the Maharashtra Congress Legislature Party leader," senior Congress leader and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters after meeting Gandhi.

He said the Maharashtra CLP had last night authorised Gandhi to name its new leader and the Congress chief chose 64-year-old Chavan this morning.

Chavan met Congress President Sonia Gandhi at her 10, Janpath residence in New Delhi and the two are understood to have discussed the political situation in Maharashtra.

Meanwhile, Chavan said Wednesday that he was "highly honoured and humbled" by the decision to make him chief minister of Maharashtra.  He also said he had requested prime minister Manmohan Singh to relieve him of his duties and had received his blessings.

"This morning Mr AK Anthony informed me that the Congress president has chosen me to lead Maharashtra. I requested the prime minister to relieve me from the responsibilities of the union government and he has blessed me," Chavan told reporters.