Divided Maharashtra front will feel ripples

Pawar’s nephew and Deputy CM Ajit Pawar also hinted at a deep rift,saying the pecking order in the UPA government alone could not be something Pawar would accord such significance to.

Written by Kavitha Iyer | Mumbai | Published:July 21, 2012 12:20 am

Among the issues NCP chief Sharad Pawar raised with Congress president Sonia Gandhi at their meeting Friday reportedly was the “poor treatment” given to his party’s ministers by the Prithviraj Chavan government in Maharashtra.

While allies,the NCP and Congress have been bickering in the state for the past two years. Quite like at the Centre,months have passed without a decision forthcoming on several issues raised by NCP MLAs,including some real estate and urban development projects in the Pune region,regularising encroachments in Mumbai’s far suburbs etc,say party MLAs.

The latest provocation reportedly was Chavan announcing a white paper on the functioning of the NCP-controlled Irrigation Department following allegations that the area under irrigation in the state had grown by only 0.1 per cent in a decade during which over Rs 50,000 crore had been spent on dam projects. Chavan reportedly also refused to support NCP minister of Public Works Department Chhagan Bhujbal following allegations of corruption in construction of the Maharashtra Sadan building in New Delhi.

Pawar’s nephew and Deputy CM Ajit Pawar also hinted at a deep rift,saying the pecking order in the UPA government alone could not be something Pawar would accord such significance to.

An NCP legislator threatened to collect signatures of party’s MLAs against Chavan’s style of functioning. Pawar is likely to meet ministers and senior legislators in Mumbai on Saturday.

An NCP minister said the party and Congress would remain allies in Maharashtra government but “there will be repercussions naturally”.

In the recent past,the NCP has tied up with the Shiv Sena and BJP to keep the Congress from winning presidentship of zilla parishads.

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