Peeved with Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan's “arbitrary way” of functioning, the NCP top brass met in New Delhi today to discuss the party’s strategy for the upcoming municipal and zila parishad polls.
Elections to 200 municipalities, 22 municipal corporations and 33 zilla parishads are slated between November and February next year.
Chavan's recent statement that the Congress’ decision to give the home ministry to NCP in 1999 was a mistake, had created a rift between the two alliance partners. The Congress party, however, has distanced itself from Chavan's statement and has asked him to clarify his position.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Home Minister R R Patil met NCP chief and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar to apprise him of how Chavan was taking decisions on key issues without taking NCP into confidence. Party leaders argued that the home ministry should not be divided into two sections, urban and rural.
Besides, the party should not succumb to the Congress party's criticism and remove RR Patil.
Meanwhile, Patil stayed away from a meeting convened by Chavan to discuss plans for installing 5,000 close-circuit TVs by March 31, 2012 that would cost the state government Rs 300 crore. Subsequently, the meeting was cancelled.
NCP ministers have appealed to their party chief to take up the issue with the Congress high command so that the coalition government could function smoothly, especially at a time when the government needs to function as a unit following the bomb blasts that killed 18 people.
Pawar and Patil have also told the NCP chief that this was not the first time that Chavan had raised the issue since he took over as the CM in November last year.
NCP's state unit president Madhukar Pichad told Business Standard: “Both Ajit Pawar and R R Patil have left for New Delhi to meet the party chief.” He, however, declined to divulge further details.
Pichad said Chavan should not have raked up the issue as the portflio allocation between Congress and NCP had taken place after the consent of the top brass of the respective parties way back in 1999.
Chavan has, however, clarified that Home Minister RR Patil was doing a fine job and he was referring to the agreement between the Congress and NCP struck before the formation of a coalition government.
However, nither the Congress nor NCP were satisfied with it as both said that the chief minister should have stayed away from the controversial statement.