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Shinde turns emotional

By Our Special Correspondent



CAUSE FOR CHEER: The Maharashtra Chief Minister, Sushilkumar Shinde, and the AICC general secretary in charge of Maharashtra, Margaret Alva, being greeted by supporters in Mumbai on Saturday. — Photo: Vivek Bendre

MUMBAI, OCT. 16. The Maharashtra Chief Minister, Sushilkumar Shinde, broke down in front of television cameras and journalists this morning as he heard the news of his victory from the Solapur South seat and the gains made by the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance in the Maharashtra Assembly elections.

"Even the High Command was afraid," he said. "What will happen to Shinde? It is natural that a man will be emotional at such a time." Mr. Shinde pointed out that people have to realise the significance of a Scheduled Castes man getting elected from a general seat "not once but four times. I am the only one in the country who has done this," he said.

Later, at a meeting with the media, he was asked whether he was surprised that the NCP had done better than the Congress. He refused to answer the question directly. "We have only got one or two less than them," he said. "It was a joint performance."

Asked repeatedly by journalists how the issue of the chief ministerial aspirant would be resolved now that the NCP has won more seats than the Congress, Mr. Shinde said: "The high command will decide."

Mr. Shinde acknowledged that the presence of rebels did affect the party. But the problem was now over as the alliance, plus the parties that supported the United Progressive Alliance at the Centre, together had enough seats to make a bid to form the government.

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