Updated: December 22, 2014 8:32:57 pm
In a strategic shift, the NCP has decided to centre its politics in Mumbai on a twin purpose of dismissing the Kelkar committee report on regional imbalance and corner BJP against Shiv Sena in the state assembly.
In its internal meeting, the NCP has taken a decision to argue how per capita income and overall development growth in Western Maharashtra minus Mumbai would be as low as that of backward region of Vidarbha and Marathwada.
It also argues that the socio-economic prosperity index in western Maharashtra which is perceived way ahead of Vidarbha and Marathwada is on account of clubbing the financial capital in category of rest of Maharashtra.
As per the Kelkar findings the per capita income (2009-10) for Vidarbha was Rs 52,282 while that of Marathwada was Rs 40,874 and Rest of Maharashtra (Western Maharashtra/Mumbai/Thane/Konkan) stood at Rs 68,818. The averages the state per capita was Rs 60,708.
A former NCP minister revealed to Indian Express, “There is a myth that western Maharashtra is economically very prosperous. It is confined to just handful districts and not entire region which cannot be overlooked when it comes to allocation of funds or evolving policies.”
Although Congress and NCP are not against the Kelkar findings they want Fadnavis government not to ignore the sugar belt region of western Maharashtra which is both political and economic stronghold of the NCP.
A former NCP minister said, “ Kelkar committee report would be detrimental and sow the seeds of regional divide. And that if Fadnavis government were to adopt its recommendations in true letter and spirit it would create a regional partisan on the lines of Vidarbha versus Marathwada versus Rest of Maharashtra.”
The Kelkar committee report is likely to be tabled by the government in the ongoing winter session at Nagpur. However, the final decision will be taken on Tuesday.
In the ongoing winter session the debate on Vidarbha last week saw MLAs from the cotton belt accusing the Congress and NCP for favouring western Maharashtra and ignoring Vidarbha and Marathwada region for last six decades.
The findings of the Kelkar report also to some extent substantiate how Vidarbha and Marathwada have remained backward due to policy failure of the successive governments in the past. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has maintained, “ Special impetus would be accorded to Vidarbha and Marathwada to tackle the backwardness. But he also indicated that there are some regions in western Maharashtra which have been completely ignored.”
The NCP’s political heavy weights belong to western Maharashtra which is also the home of Pawars. Interestingly, NCP’s decision to hype Mumbai card is also to create a political wedge between BJP and Shiv Sena. At present BJP has 44 MLAs out of total 62 MLAs from Vidarbha.
The NCP has mooted a proposal seeking a discussion on growing urbanization and its financial implications in Maharashtra centred around Mumbai. The NCP is quick to remind how party president Sharad Pawar has taken the lead to question the state government’s decision to set up PM committee for Mumbai.
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