At 79, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Sharad Pawar should be at the fag end of his career. But a crushing defeat in the Lok Sabha elections coupled with mass defections has left the Nationalist Congress Party tottering, and the onus has yet again fallen on the septuagenarian to resurrect his party’s fortunes. According to sources, Pawar has been personally reaching out to disgruntled sections in the faction-ridden party in a bid to stem the ‘outgoing’ trend. On Sunday, he also sent out a strong message, saying that he has faced such a situation in the past as well, and accused the BJP of misusing its power to poach opposition legislators.
For the past 14 months, the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) has been functioning without a full-time chairman. Also, four out of the six posts of members on the commission are vacant. Retired bureaucrat Chandrasekhar Oak, who is one of the two serving members, has been holding the post of an acting chairman since V N More’s retirement last May. At a time when the state government has undertaken a mega recruitment drive, questions are being raised over the Chief Minister’s reluctance to fill up the vacant posts in the commission. Sources confirmed that the vacancies have hit the commissioner’s functioning.
NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal has been in touch with Shiv Sena’s top leadership for some time now, but according to sources the information leak regarding his likely induction into the party and the subsequent banners which were erected cautioning the party leadership against the move seems to be a part of the stratagem of some second-rung leaders in the party. Insiders agreed that there is some sense of political insecurity among some ministers because Bhujbal will have to be given a significant position or a role within the party. But despite the opposition from within, sources said that party negotiators have continued talks with the former Deputy Chief Minister.
As the cold war between Mumbai Congress leaders Milind Deora and Sanjay Nirupam continues, the former appears to have got an edge following developments this past week. Not only did the Congress’s leadership appoint a person of Deora’s choice as a working president in Mumbai, All India Congress Committee leader Mallikarjun Kharge also announced that the party had not accepted Deora resignation from the Mumbai president’s post yet. Former MP Eknath Gaikwad was named as the working president, with Kharge observing that he and Deora will work together.
In Election Mode
Before embarking on his month-long rath yatra to various parts of the state, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has asked his bureaucrats to walk the ‘extra mile’ in order to effectively implement public welfare schemes at the ground level. In the run-up to the state polls, the Chief Minister’s Office has been closely monitoring the status of implementation of various schemes and infrastructure projects. At a state Cabinet meet a month or so ago, some ministers had raised concerns over the pace of implementation of the schemes.