2010: Maharashtra had its ups and downs
The Adarsh housing scam, which exposed the politician-bureaucrat nexus and dethroned a chief minister, the political storm over Lavasa hill city project, and war of words between the Thackeray cousins dominated Maharashtra's political landscape during the year.
The ascent of technocrat-politician Prithviraj Chavan as chief minister, Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar as deputy chief minister and a flurry of high-profile visits, including that of United States President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, made it an eventful year for the state.
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Not an 'Adarsh' year for politics
The 31-storey Adarsh Housing Society landed in controversy after reports that several politicians, bureaucrats and defence personnel owned flats there. It was meant to be a six-storey structure to house Kargil war heroes and their kin but was extended to 31 floors sans mandatory permissions.
The scam hogged headlines and led to the exit of Ashok Chavan as chief minister after it came to light that his kin, including his late mother-in-law, owned flats there. During the winter session of the legislature at Nagpur, the Maharashtra government announced a judicial probe under the Commission of Inquiry Act into the Adarsh scam but rejected the Opposition's Shiv Sena-Bharaiya Janata Party's demand for a Joint Legislative Committee.
Image: Adarsh Housing Society scam led to the ouster of Ashok Chavan as Maharashtra CM
Lavasa strained ties between Congress, NCP
In the legislature, the government admitted to 'some irregularities' in the Lavasa project and said it will probe 'each and every case, be it related to ceiling land or tribal land.'
Image: The Lavasa project
Finally, Navi Mumbai airport takes off
Congress sources said Pawar was trying to be a 'super CM' and trying to upstage Chavan with his highhandedness in administration. Chavan ensured final approval for two big-ticket projects from the Centre.
The 9,900-MW nuclear power project at Jaitapur in coastal Konkan received the green signal from Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, a few days after the Navi Mumbai airport project also got environmental clearance.
The Jaitapur project, the first one to be off the block after the Indo-United States nuke deal was inked, comes with 35 riders, on preservation of the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats. The Navi Mumbai airport project, 35 km from the one at Sahar now, was cleared by the Union cabinet.
Image: Navi Mumbai airport project has received environmental clearance
Obama visit: Definitely something to cheer about
During a Diwali celebration with school kids, Michelle took to the floor and Obama followed. "The difference was that she was good," Obama later said.
A month later, Sarkozy with wife Carla Bruni visited Mumbai, paid tributes to 26/11 martyrs, spoke at a commemoration event and addressed business leaders.
Image: US President Barack Obama puts on his dancing shoes at a school in Mumbai
The Uddhav vs Raj spat continues
In October, the twin towns of Kalyan and Dombivli in Thane district became battlegrounds for the Thackeray cousins. MNS chief Raj Thackeray, and his cousin and Shiv Sena executive president, Uddhav Thackeray, continued to trade charges with each calling the other a 'traitor'.
Raj accused Uddhav of betraying his party cadre during the Sena's protest against Shah Rukh Khan-starrer My Name is Khan while Uddhav warned Raj he would strike back if he continued his attack on his father, Sena chief Bal Thackeray. A walkathon was organised in September to "bring the Thackeray cousins Raj and Uddhav together for betterment of Marathi people".
Satish Walunje, who launched the campaign, said Sena workers haven't given up hopes to bring the cousins together. In June, the ruling Congress-NCP alliance received a major boost as six of its candidates and a Congress-supported independent were elected to the state Legislative Council.
Five Shiv Sena legislators were suspended from the Assembly for a year following their unruly behaviour on two consecutive days, when the Winter Session began in Nagpur in December. However, a day before the session ended on December 16, their suspension was revoked.
Image: Raj and Uddhav Thackeray