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Understand the Pawar play in Maharashtra

June 09, 2013 16:45 IST
Nationalist Congress Party Chief Sharad Pawar has killed two birds with one stone. By asking all 20 NCP ministers in the Congress-led government in Maharashtra to resign, Pawar has sent a strong signal that he is the boss and rest will have to follow his line for survival. 
 
Pawar has pressed the alarm button to arrest the party’s deteriorating image in the wake of a series of exposé on scams involving party ministers, including Chhagan Bhujbal, Sunil Tatkare, Babanrao Pachpute, Vijaykumar Gavit and Gulabrao Deokar.

Those likely to be dropped include food and Civil Supplies Minister Anil Deshmukh, Food and Drugs Minister Manohar Naik, Water Resources Minister Ramraje Nimbalkar, Tribal Development Minister Babanrao Pachpute, minister of state for transport Gulabrao Deokar.

New faces who may get ministerial berths comprise state assembly speaker Dilip Walse Patil, state party unit chief Madhukar Pichad, legislators Shashikant Shinde and Jitendra Avad. The minister of state for housing Sachin Ahir is expected to be elevated as cabinet minister while Pachpute will become state assembly speaker.
 
NCP chief indicated that it was an attempt to restore the image and thereby reach out to cross sections of voters. This was also an attempt to change NCP’s image being the Maratha centric party to the party which gives equal prominence to minorities, other backward classes, backward classes, youths and women.
 
Pawar, who has already declared not to contest the ensuing Lok Sabha elections,  wants  his party  to win at least 15 seats in the  ensuing Lok Sabha elections.

The reshuffle in the ministry and party organization will come quite handy.

NCP’s state unit chief Madhukar Pichad, who will get the ministerial berth, is expected to be replaced by the home minister RR Patil or young turks including Shashikant Shinde and Jitendra Avad.

The new party chief will be elected at the party’s executive slated for June 15. He told the party ministers that state unit chief should be young and dynamic to take on youth leaders like Raj Thackeray who heads Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and Devendra Fadanvis who is recently appointed to lead the state BJP.
 
Furthermore, Pawar also snubbed co-partner Congress which has kept the issue of reshuffle lingering for over eight months.

Curiously, the NCP chief is believed to have indicated that his party is in favour of completing the reshuffle exercise by June 11 or 12.

Pawar, who is said to have talked to the chief minister Prithviraj Chavan conveying his party’s move, did not forget to clarify that it was his party’s decision and the Congress is free to take its own moves.
 
An NCP minister, who was privy to the Pawar play, told Business Standard: “The reshuffle was in offing for last eight months as Pawar was taking up the issue with Chavan since then. However, Chavan was non committal neither there was any reciprocal action from the Congress party to complete reshuffle and fill up at least three vacant posts from its quota in the state council of ministers. Finally, Pawar acted swiftly thus leaving very limited options for Congress party.”

The minister said resignation was a well thought out move also against the backdrop of various pre poll surveys showing NCP’s drubbing in the general election.
 
Chavan admitted that Pawar had kept him in the loop over  NCP ministers’ resignation. However, he did not divulge further details with regard to Congress party’s action plan.  Chavan is expected to leave for Delhi on Sunday to discuss with party high command.
 
Maharashtra Congress chief Manikrao Thakre also expressed his ignorance over changes in the party organization and also reshuffle in the Congress ministers. Thakre as expected suggested that it was the party high command who will take a final decision in this regard.
 
However, Congress leader said that party ministers Madhukar Chavan, Shivajirao Moghe Rajendra Darda, Sanjay Deotale and Ranjit Kamble are likely to be dropped.
Sanjay Jog in Mumbai
Source: