State Congress chief Ashok Chavan held a meeting with city party workers on Saturday in preparation for the upcoming civic polls. Although he ducked questions on Congress’ alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), he said the city unit will face the elections under the guidance of former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and city party chief Ramesh Bagwe.
Senior Congress leaders including Prithviraj Chavan, former ministers Harshvardhan Patil and Bagwe too were present in the two-and-a-half hour long meeting. Chavan inaugurated a “social media cell” of the party and also felicitated students of the College of Engineering, Pune (COEP), who developed the satellite ‘Swayam’.
Speaking to reporters, Chavan said he received “mixed feedback” on the question of facing the municipal polls in alliance with the NCP or going solo. He said the decision on this “complicated issue” would be taken in the future and that he saw a great amount of confidence in party workers.
Chavan also alleged that he has received a complaint regarding delimitation of wards in a skewed way with interference from the ruling disposition which may benefit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena candidates during the civic polls.
“This is a very serious allegation that several partymen from different parts of the city have made. The party will definitely look into this and make a complaint with the election commission if we find any substance in the allegations. When we were in power, we never used such dirty tricks,” said Chavan.
Chavan also alleged that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has lost control of his cabinet which, he said, was made apparent from a Twitter exchange between Fadnavis and Rural Development Minister Pankaja Munde.
“The impression that the public is getting is that the Chief Minister’s decision and planning has no bearing on his cabinet and we are afraid that this will have a devastating effect on the morale of the administration,” he said.
Even in the case of Eknath Khadse who had to resign over allegations of corruption, he said that the Chief Minister had jumped the gun by giving a clean chit to the former minister without even letting an inquiry happen.
“Actions like these betray the true intentions of this government. We have always demanded and continue to demand that the inquiry in the alleged corruption by Khadse should be conducted by a sitting judge of the High Court. The Chief Minister has announced that a retired judge will probe the case. Not only this, he has also gone ahead and given a clean chit to Khadse. Why this farce of an inquiry then?” asked Chavan.