Unhappy with the bickering within the ruling coalition of the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan exhorted his ministers to adhere to the 'coalition dharma'.
The recent tiff emerged with the state Congress leader Hussain Dalwai accusing the NCP of instigating the communal riots at Miraj near Sangli. Dalwai's startling statement would have been dismissed as a publicity gimmick had it not been for his position as the spokesperson of the Congress Party which lent an official status to the remark.
On Wednesday, following the discussion of business in the cabinet meeting, senior NCP leader and deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal raised this issue with Chavan. With Bhujbal opening the floodgates, other NCP ministers also joined in to vent their frustration over delay in clearing of files by ministries headed by Congress MLAs. Not to be left behind, the Congress ministers countered the allegations with counter allegations on how files were also being delayed by ministries held by the NCP. To drive the nail home, the Congress ministers pointed the sarcastic remark of home minister R R Patil made against CM Chavan after he recently left for a foreign tour without delegating his authority to any other minister in the cabinet.
Patil had said that he will not be surprised if Chavan had taken the chair along with him. CM Chavan who was not pleased with the remark said that irrespective of the internal differences, ministers have to respect the CM not as an individual but as the highest authority in the state. Sounding disappointed he urged his ministers to stick to 'coalition dharma' and work for the betterment of the state rather than fending allegations of each other.