An hour and a half meeting between Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Congress ministers Ashok Chavan and Balasaheb Thorat at Varsha on Saturday ended with the latter describing the meeting on the alliance issues it had raised as being “positive and satisfactory.”
This is the second time in just over a month that Thackeray has had to step in to pacify the Congress camp. Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar was also present during Saturday’s meeting.
Upset at being treated literally like the third wheel when it came to decision making in the alliance, the Congress has been pushing for solution to its grievances, while publicly dismissing any rift or rancour within the coalition.
Chavan, a former Chief Minister himself, in particular had expressed displeasure at not being consulted over proposals that can impact his ministerial portfolio. The Congress camp has complained that the proposal for the carving out of a separate infrastructure board had been formulated without consulting Chavan and that it may infringe upon the Public Works portfolio he heads.
When Chavan had first raised the issue with Thackeray on June 18, the Chief Minister had assured that he would personally look into the issue. On Saturday, Chavan raised the issue once again. Sources said that Thackeray has issued a firmer assurance this time around. The issue regarding appointments and transfer of bureaucrats in Congress led departments was also discussed, source said.
Also discussed was the issue regarding unequal distribution of development funds among constituencies represented by MLAs from the three ruling parties. Pawar heads the state’s finance department. To make its presence felt in the alliance, the Congress has also been pushing for the implementation of a NYAY-like scheme in Maharashtra in the aftermath of Covid-19 pandemic and has demanded that the coalition announce cash transfers to vulnerable sections. When contacted, Chavan said that the meeting was positive and satisfactory.
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