The relations between the two main allies of the ruling coalition in Maharashtra, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), have been mired by differences in opinion and these are not going to end easily. Political ambitions and competing to get ahead of the other are the main reasons that are preventing anyone from taking steps to improve relations. It seems that in the next Assembly Elections in the state, the contest is not going to between with rival parties, but within the ruling alliance. The NCP never misses a chance to corner Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, who is a member of the Congress party. Now after the comments of Sharad Pawar, it is quite clear that all the political drama that unfolded in New Delhi was to target Prithviraj Chavan. It is also said in political circles that the announcement made by the Congress High Command to form a committee for improving the relations between the two parties is also going to be a stage for settling personal scores.
The comments of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar that Chavan was not elected by the people and he is controlled by the party have added fuel to the fire. The Deputy Chief Minister, Ajit Pawar, and state NCP President, Madhukarrao Pichad, have been elected by the public, and this is why they are much more aware of the problems of people. They both know how to run the government. Sharad Pawar has expressed his discontentment to the Chief Minister. He has said that the Chief Minister should not interfere in the departments of other Ministers because decisions are made after taking everyone into confidence. This statement of Sharad Pawar was seen as a satire on the Chief Minister. Pawar has said that he will tour the drought-hit areas of Maharashtra. He had instructed his Ministers to ask the Chief Minister to issue a white paper, and if the white paper is not issued then the media should bring the issue to the public. It should be remembered that the Chief Minister, without consulting the Water Resources Minister, had announced a white paper will be issued. He announced this after the Opposition was continuously raising financial issues related to irrigation schemes. Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar were not happy with the decision to announce the white paper without any consultations. After the recent comment of Sharad Pawar, it is quite clear that all the pressure that was built up in Delhi was done only to remove Chavan as the Chief Minister.
According to data released by the Chief Minister’s Office, Chavan is way ahead in clearing the files as compared to the former Chief Ministers. After taking over as Chief Minister, Chavan has settled 15,101 files in 505 days. If this data is taken into consideration, then Chavan has worked more than all three former Chief Ministers.
Chavan has counter-attacked, and said that all the allegations against him are wrong. He said that compared to previous Chief Ministers Ashok Chavan, Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushil Kumar Shinde, he has settled the files faster.
According to data released by the Chief Minister’s Office, Chavan is way ahead in clearing the files as compared to the former Chief Ministers. After taking over as Chief Minister, Chavan has settled 15,101 files in 505 days. If this data is taken into consideration, then Chavan has worked more than all three former Chief Ministers. The NCP state President, Madhukarrao Pichad, made fun of the Chief Minister by saying that if Chavan had really worked then his work will be examined, and he will be presented with flowers. He said that Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) of his party have always complained that Chavan does not work, and that is the reason his office is filled with files. Many files are just waiting for the approval of the Chief Minister. If he is not working, then with what face is he going to ask for votes? Now, the Coordination Committee has been formed by both the parties. The Committee includes Union Minister Praful Patel and Ajit Pawar (NCP). The Committee will examine the work of the Chief Minister, and if he has done more work than the previous Chief Ministers, he would be honoured. After the taunts of Madhukarrao Pichad, tensions have increased between the Congress and the NCP, and the Chief Minister has become more aggressive.
Now, the Congress and the NCP are attacking and counter-attacking each other. After the comments of Madhukarrao Pichad, Chief Minister Chavan has taunted NCP by saying that a party with only nine Members of Parliament (MPs) has got three Ministries in the Union Cabinet. He also said that he would not sign any file without reading it. According to him there is difficulty in coordination in Delhi, because a party with just nine MPs has three Ministers, but there is no such problem in the alliance of the Maharashtra government. Chavan overruled the advice of Sharad Pawar and claimed that there is good coordination between the NCP and the Congress; the problem is in Delhi, because there are various smaller parties.
Referring to the United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA) first tenure, Prithviraj Chavan said that the Left which had 61 MPs was not a part of the government. If the Left were the part of the government, then 15 of their MPs would have been Cabinet Ministers, but now a party with only nine MPs has three Cabinet Ministers. Though he has not taken any names, this statement of Chavan is seen as an attack on the NCP. It is also said that the statements made by Chavan had complete backing from the Congress High Command. This backing from the Congress is because Pawar created pressure from Mumbai to Delhi for sacking Chief Minister Chavan. After the formation of the Coordination Committee, the Congress has managed to reduce the pressure from the NCP. It is also said that the MLAs from the Congress who were rebelling against the Chief Minister were encouraged by the NCP. After a reprimand from the Congress High Command, the rebellious MLAs sat down quietly, and after that Chavan has become more aggressive. It is also said that when the power of Pawar did not work in Delhi, he began to target the Chief Minister. It would not be a hyperbole to say that the Congress, keeping in mind the present scenario in the state, has decided to retain Chavan as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. The Congress has decided not to change the Chief Minister before the 2014 Assembly Elections. It would not be wrong to say that though tensions between the Congress and the NCP might have eased in Delhi, the impasse in
Maharashtra continues, and it will be very difficult to improve relations between the two parties.