Even the Thackerays need help sometimes
Known for their autocratic rule and their appreciation of a dictator like Adolf Hitler,Raj Thackeray and his uncle Bal Thackeray rarely turn to anyone for help. But a distressed Thackeray Senior has now sought the help of Republican Party of Indias Ramdas Athawale to form an alliance of Shiv Sainiks and the followers of Babasaheb Ambedkar in the run-up to local polls,while Raj has sought the help of Anna Hazare. At a function at Nashik,Raj urged Anna to help expose NCP leaders like Chhagan Bhujbal and pledged the MNSs support. Nashik,where local polls are due in seven months,means a lot to both Raj and Bhujbal. Bhujbal is its guardian minister,his nephew Sameer is its MP and his son Pankaj is an MLA from Nandgaon,Nashik. Raj,on the other hand,has friends and interests there.
Renewed Call to split Thane
The demand for splitting Thane has been revived,with the district emerging the states most highly populated a sign that the original middle class of expensive Mumbai is now migrating northward and that migrants too prefer to settle on the outskirts. Over three decades ago,the original demand had prompted the government to appoint a panel that recommended Thane be split to carve out a Palghar district. The Congress is struggling to grow in Thane,dominated by the Shiv Sena and the NCP. It has only one MLA from Palghar,Rajendra Gavit,minister of state. The issue has,however,not yet been listed as a priority on the agenda of the present government,given the pace at which it has been taking decisions.
Choosing dynasties,NCP style
NCP chief Sharad Pawar,no stranger to dynastic politics,faced an embarrassing question recently from one of his close aides,Ishwarlal Jain,Rajya Sabha MP. Jain,who is at odds with Sharad Pawars nephew Ajit,deputy Chief Minister,wanted his son Manish Jain to be made an MLC. The party did not agree and Manish had to rebel. Subsequently,the Shiv Sena supported Manish who got elected,defeating NCP official nominee Anil Chaudhari as well as BJP nominee Nikhil Khadse,son of Leader of the Opposition Eknath Khadse. Efforts are now afoot to accommodate Manish in the NCP. Jain has now questioned why the party accommodates three Bhujbals (Chhagan,Pankaj,Sameer) and three Pawars (Sharad,Ajit,Supriya),but does not want two Jains.
Thankless task for Thakre
Manikrao Thakres jubilation at being reappointed state Congress chief has not lasted long. As he is preparing to form a new executive committee,the high command has asked him to downsize it from 110 members to 51. This is tricky given the powerful lobbies,dynasties and warring groups in the party.
As such,he has not been able to fulfil a promise,made after the 2009 Assembly polls,that all political appointments on state-run corporations and committees would be made within six months,because of vacillation by the CM. Aspirants within the party,already lobbying for such appointments,have started lobbying for places in the executive body too. Thakre is now surrounded by people eulogising him,though many behind his back plot to overthrow him.