The Congress on Saturday appointed Balasaheb Thorat as the president of the party’s Maharashtra unit. Thorat has replaced Ashok Chavan months before the Maharashtra Assembly elections are due, NDTV reported.

Chavan had resigned as the Maharashtra Congress chief earlier this month taking moral responsibility for the party’s defeat in the Lok Sabha elections. The Congress won just one seat in the Maharashtra Lok Sabha polls, while its ally the Nationalist Congress Party won four. The Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party combine won 41 seats.

“The Hon’ble Congress President has approved the proposal of appointment of President, Working Presidents for the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee,” a letter by Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal said.

Rahul Gandhi had quit as the Congress president on July 3 in an open letter to the party workers. However, an unidentified senior Congress leader told NDTV that Gandhi remains the party chief as the Congress Working Committee is yet to accept his resignation. “Also, the decision on these appointments was taken on June 27, when he met the leaders of all poll-bound states,” the leader said. “So, these appointments were made with his approval.”

“We are not demoralised,” Thorat told The Times of India. “I am sure we will revive the organisation at all levels and dislodge the BJP-Shiv Sena government in the upcoming elections.” Thorat said he will take charge in a day or two and draft a seat-sharing formula with the Nationalist Congress Party.

Apart from Thorat, Nitin Raut, Baswaraj M Patil, Vishwajeet Kadam, Yashomati Chandrakant Thakur and Muzaffer Hussain have been appointed working presidents of the Maharashtra Congress unit. KC Padavi was appointed as the legislative party leader in the Maharashtra Assembly.