In an effort to avoid further controversy, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday decided to withdraw his decision to appoint Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant and Sena MLA Ravindra Waikar as the chairman of Maha State Parliamentary Coordination Committee and the chief coordinator in the Chief Minister’s Office, respectively.
Sources said the decision was taken after the Opposition planned to corner the government by projecting these appointments to be in violation of the office-of-profit norms.
According to two separate government resolutions, dated February 20, both Sawant and Waikar conveyed to the administration that they were not willing to take up the roles. An MP from Mumbai South, Sawant had in a letter dated February 14 conveyed to the government that he was not willing to take up the role, the GR said. Similarly, Jogeshwari legislator Waikar had expressed his unwillingness to take up the job in a letter on February 11. The respective GRs do not mention the reasons cited by Sawant and Waikar.
The appointments were made earlier this month. While Sawant was appointed to follow up on the various pending proposals with the Centre and was given the minister rank and office in Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi, Waikar was appointed as the chief coordinator in CMO with a Cabinet minster’s rank to handle the grievances of the people. This was for the first time that such a post was created in the CMO.
Sources said that with the Budget Session of the state legislature currently on, Uddhav did not want to give the Opposition any opportunity to target the government. “It has been shown on record that both expressed their unwillingness in accepting the posts,” said a source.
Despite repeated attempts, Sawant and Waikar could not be contacted for a comment. The Sena, meanwhile, blamed the administration and a senior bureaucrat for the withdrawal of the appointments. “Two MPs were appointed on state-run corporations during the BJP regime and they were given the minster’s rank.
The senior bureaucrat should have pointed this out and could have issued legally tenable notification for the appointments,” said a party leader.
Sawant, a two-term MP, was sworn in as Union minister last May. Sawant, who was given the portfolio of heavy industries, resigned as a minister last November, following a power tussle between Sena and BJP in Maharashtra.
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