NCP president Sharad Pawar is likely to meet Congress chief Sonia Gandhi next week to convey the need to expedite decision making process in the administration and the party ahead of the Assembly elections due later this year.
The NCP, it is believed, wants quick decisions on some policy matters and seat-sharing arrangements with the Congress for the polls.
On Sunday, Pawar convened a meeting with NCP ministers in Mumbai where discontent against Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan came to the fore. The ministers conveyed that identified policy decisions had been languishing and their implementation not moving at the pace desired ahead of the polls.
NCP national spokesperson Nawab Malik said: “There was resentment against the chief minister’s slow pace of decision-making. Ahead of the Assembly elections, everybody in the party felt that things had to move fast and quick decisions should be taken on issues like abolition of local body tax, Maratha reservation and power purchase from outside to ensure 24×7 electricity in Maharashtra.”
A senior NCP cabinet minister told The Indian Express: “Frankly speaking, we don’t see the Chief Minister doing enough to come to the defence of NCP ministers on critical issues like irrigation scam. The collective effort in image-building of the Congress-NCP coalition is clearly missing and it is worrying for us.”
The NCP is upset as Chavan has not come out in public to defend the party against the Madhav Chitale committee report on the irrigation sector. The report said members and chairman of the governing council of the Irrigation Development Corporation (IDC) should be held responsible for the financial irregularities and violation of rules in irrigation projects. Though it has not named any politician, chairman of the IDC’s governing council during the relevant period was Ajit Pawar, who was water resources minister between 1999 and 2009. Though Chavan gave his nod to present the report along with the action taken report, it is felt his silence on the irrigation sector debate does not augur well for the image of Ajit Pawar and the NCP.
Sources in the NCP said Sharad Pawar had decided to take up the issues of delay in decision making both at the government level and the party level with the central leadership of AICC.