Stepping up pressure on chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on the traders’ strike over implementation of the local body tax (LBT), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) called for an immediate meeting of the co-ordination committee of the alliance to discuss the issue.
NCP’s demand came in as party chief Sharad Pawar in Pune asked the state government to work out an amiable solution, as markets cannot be shut indefinitely. The state party president Madhukar Pichad wrote to the CM and state Congress party president Manickrao Thakre to hold a meeting on Wednesday.
“Traders are ready for discussions. They are not enemies of the government. The common people should not suffer, and this should be the government’s priority,” said Pawar.
The NCP chief insisted that government come out with a solution that will ensure its revenue and also address concerns of misuse of provisions of LBT.
Party spokesperson Nawab Malik said Chavan should not be autocratic on the issue. “In a democracy, it can’t be my ship and my order. Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar has suggested that a panel of senior ministers be set up to resolve the issue. This should be discussed,” he said.
“The co-ordination committee was set up to discuss such issues between the allies, but it hasn’t met for over 4 month,” Malik added.
Taking a jibe at the CM, Malik said Chavan didn’t even listen to his party leaders including Union ministers.
Seventeen Congress MPs have written to Congress president Sonia Gandhi on the issue. Union minister Milind Deora also requested Chavan to address concerns of the traders, following which a committee of traders and officials had been set up.
part from LBT, Malik said the party wanted a discussion on reducing prices of Mhada houses, review of measures taken by the government for the drought situation and non-appointment of political nominees of several public sector units. Political insiders and experts believe that parties don’t want to antagonise traders, who are known to fund election campaigns.