The Congress and the NCP are blaming each other for not making corruption against ministers in the Devendra Fadnavis government the main plank in the ongoing monsoon session of the state legislature.
The Congress’s political managers told The Indian Express they lost “a good opportunity to tarnish the image of the government by overwhelmingly debating on agriculture repeatedly two weeks and giving corruption secondary treatment on the floor of the house”.
A senior Congress leader said, “Whenever the issue of tainted ministers was raised it was a foregone conclusion that Congress should take the lead in both the Assembly and the Council.” The NCP which was willing to support was not keen on moving a proposal. They were weighing the pros and cons several of their leaders are facing investigations by the Anti-Corruption Bureau.
Former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, state NCP chief Sunil Tatkare, and senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal are facing probes for alleged irregularities while in office.
Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil told The Indian Express, “I have maintained a clear stand that there cannot be any compromise on corruption. We cannot be intimidated by the BJP -Shiv Sena government’s threat to expose 16 scams of our leaders. If there are any charges of corruption committed during our tenure those guilty should be acted upon.”
While acknowledging that the farmers’ issue was equally important, it was felt Congress-NCP along with smaller parties could have sustained the aggressive campaign for atleast a week against ministers Pankaja Munde for alleged irregularities in contracts and Vinod Tawde for his fake engineering degree.
A senior minister said, “In the absence of Vikhe-Patil in the Assembly on Thursday, the NCP preferred to raise the water crisis issue even after the debate on farmers was taken earlier. The NCP wanted Congress to initiate the debate on corruption against government.”
Similarly, in the Council, NCP was pressing former Congress chief Manikrao Thakre to rake up the corruption issue. The NCP argued, “In the Council, Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde was away to attend the funeral of his grandmother. We were waiting for him to come.”
NCP leaders told The Indian Express, “Senior leaders Jayant Patil, Shashikant Shinde and Jeetendra Awhad have been vocal about corruption in the BJP government. It is a fact that Tatkare, Pawar and Bhujbal are facing investigations. But they have also highlighted the issues.”
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