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Much of Maharashtra in London, briefly
Top Congress and NCP leaders do not appear to be in the mood for a long vacation with most of them preferring a short break. Exit polls indicating an NDA victory at the Centre have given them cause to worry ahead of assembly elections due in October.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan went to Mahabaleshwar but had to cut short his holiday for a meeting with NCP president Sharad Pawar.
In a candid admission, Chavan said, “There is very short time. Legislative Council elections are due in July. The code of conduct for MLC elections, to be soon followed by assembly elections, has to be taken into consideration for policy measures.”
Industries Minister Narayan Rane, who campaigned for his son — sitting MP Nitesh Rane contesting from Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg — travelled to London for a week with his family. NCP president Sharad Pawar too went on a quick trip to London. Union Minister for Heavy Industries Praful Patel also travelled to London for a break. Interestingly, London appears to have emerged the favourite destination for those who went abroad. Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray left for London immediately after the state elections. His close confidant said, “When it comes to holidaying abroad, Uddhav prefers London.”
BJP’s big two — former president Nitin Gadkari and deputy leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde — did not take a break. While Gadkari was campaigning in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Lakshwadeep and Andhra Pradesh after the Maharashtra legs ended, Munde was also travelling outside Maharashtra. State BJP president Devendra Fadnavis was in Uttar Pradesh. With Narendra Modi contesting from Varanasi, it remained the most favoured destination for BJP leaders who also visited the famous Kashi Vishwanath temple.
State Congress chief Manikrao Thakre planned a visit to Vaishno Devi with his family. He said, “I was supposed to travel with my family on Sunday, but as Pawar and Chavan convened a meeting I have asked them to go ahead and will join them later.”
State NCP chief Bhaskar Jadhav said, “There is very little time. I have started the ground work for assembly elections.” Jadhav visited his home in Konkan for a couple of days. “Pawar has already set the stage for assembly elections. He has convened a couple of meetings with senior ministers and leaders of the party. We have been told to get back to work for assembly elections,” he added.
Home minister R R Patil said, “I have no plans for summer vacation. I visited Nagpur to see policemen injured in naxal attack.” He only managed a two-day break to spend time with his family members at Sangli, his home town.
Senior Congress minister Nitin Raut said, “The water crisis is already staring at us and we have to start preparations to tackle the drought-like situation.” Where is the question of taking any vacation, he wonders.