Maharashtra’s Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar — who is known for his outspoken ways — just bowled a googly to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and another senior cabinet colleague, Girish Mahajan. Commenting on the development backlog in Mahajan’s home district, Jalgaon, at an agricultural workshop this past week, Mungantiwar reminded those present that Mahajan was seen as the CM’s close confidant. He also named Jalgaon’s guardian minister Chandrakant Patil, who is the No. 2 after Fadnavis in the cabinet. “With such powerful ministers representing the region, it amuses me that Jalgaon’s issues are yet to be resolved,” he said.
For over three months now, files related to clearances granted by a desk in the Urban Development department have been lying in the custody of the Chief Minister’s Office. Officials in the CMO said this had been done as part of a routine verification exercise. Over the past few months, there has been intense debate in the corridors of power regarding a couple of clearances.
High-profile bureaucrat Tukaram Mundhe has scored yet another moral victory over elected representatives in the BJP-ruled Nashik municipality. Despite pressure from certain quarters within the BJP to transfer the 2005-batch IAS officer out of Nashik, CM Devendra Fadnavis, during a visit to Nashik this past week, threw his weight behind Mundhe, sending a clear message to Mundhe dissenters within the BJP. A sitting MLA had made Mundhe’s ouster a prestige issue. Last month, Fadnavis’s office had stepped in to thwart an attempt to move a ‘no confidence motion’ against Mundhe in the civic general body.
Well Done, Minister
His son-in-law, Shivdeep Lande, has earned the reputation of being a tough cop. But Maharashtra’s Minister of State for Water Resources Vijay Shivtare showed this past week that he too can chase bad guys and save the day. When Shivtare was riding in a car from Pimpri Chinchwad to Pune on October 5, he witnessed a hit-and-run on the opposite side of the road where a car knocked down a bike. Shivtare asked the rest of his convoy to attend to the two people injured in the accident, while asking his car’s driver to chase the speeding vehicle, and eventually catching the culprits, who were later handed over to the police.
As the debate continues to rage over the Devendra Fadnavis government’s move to lease a 5.5-acre government land in Film City to Bollywood filmmaker Subhash Ghai’s film school, Whistling Woods International, sources in Mantralaya pointed out the fact that Ghai’s film school had also collaborated with the state government to release short films for championing the government’s tree plantation projects, which was made by students from his film school, and had featured some Bollywood A-listers.
Lokayukta M L Tahaliyani’s office wears a brand new look. The office, situated in the new administrative building opposite Mantralaya, has just been renovated. While the staff at the Lokayukta’s office had suggested a makeover some time ago, sources said the state government had been postponing it citing funding crunch and austerity measures. While the austerity measures are still on, the makeover has finally taken shape.
It is no secret that former Nationalist Congress Party ministers Sunil Tatkare and Bhaskar Jadhav do not see eye to eye. There was constant tiff between the two even when the Congress-NCP was in power in the state. A fresh struggle has now broken out between the two, with Jadhav staking claim for NCP’s Lok Sabha candidature from Raigad district, which Tatkare had contested the last time around.