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Mumbai: HC order gave NCP right moment to ease out Deshmukh, after resisting calls for resignation from oppn

Sources said that instead of senior NCP leaders Jayant Patil and Dilip Walse Patil, Deshmukh was chosen for the job as the two leaders reportedly declined the portfolio.

Written by Vishwas Waghmode | Mumbai |
April 6, 2021 12:03:51 am
Petitions that led to Deshmukh ouster filed by many -- from lawyer to teacherThe petitions that acted as a catalyst for the ouster of Anil Deshmukh as Home Minister of Maharashtra were filed by a varied bunch of citizens including lawyers, social activists and a teacher. (File)

In the wake of the Ambani security scare-Sachin Waze controversy, NCP leader Anil Deshmukh tendering his resignation as home minister is seen as a setback to the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, especially to the NCP and Shiv Sena.

Sources said that the allotment of a sensitive portfolio like Home to Deshmukh by the NCP leadership had raised eyebrows within the party as well as political circles. It is not just the Sena that had problems with Deshmukh’s style of functioning, but NCP leaders had also raised questions and were unhappy with him, said sources.

Sources also said that the decision to change the Home Minister was taken in a meeting between NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray last month following the arrest of Waze. “But, it seems the NCP leadership had decided to wait for an opportune time to ensure that the credit does not go to the opposition, which had demanded that Deshmukh resign immediately. Deshmukh has made a smooth exit in the wake of the HC order,” said a Sena leader requesting anonymity.

Sources said that instead of senior NCP leaders Jayant Patil and Dilip Walse Patil, Deshmukh was chosen for the job as the two leaders reportedly declined the portfolio. The NCP leadership seems to have made the correction by giving the Home portfolio to Walse Patil now, sources said.

In July last year, a row was triggered within the MVA government over the transfers of 10 deputy commissioners of police, but the decision was reversed after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray reportedly expressed strong displeasure over it.

Another Sena leader said that Thackeray’s move of equating Waze with Osama bin Laden caused embarrassment to the party after Waze’s arrest and subsequent revelations in the investigation by NIA. “It not only dented the image of the party and government but also of Thackeray. It also gave an opportunity to the opposition, which was already attacking the Sena over Waze’s past association with the party, to target Thackeray and the party,” the leader said.

Even as the NCP has replaced the Home Minister, the Sena is not keen on replacing Sanjay Rathod, who held the Forest Ministry but had to resign from the cabinet over his alleged links with the death by suicide of a 22-year-old woman in Pune.

“The party does not want to open up another front within the party over filling up the vacant ministerial berth,” said a leader, adding that while the party does not want to hurt Rathod, who has a significant following in his Banjara community, many in the party are vying for the post.

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