A day after indicating that Mumbai police commissioner Arup Patnaik will hang on to his post for some more time, the Maharashtra government transferred him and appointed senior police officer Satyapal Singh in his place.
Patnaik, whose removal was demanded by the opposition -- especially the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena — for his "failure" to control the Azad Maidan violence of August 11, was promoted to the post of director general of police. But he was posted as the managing director of the newly formed Maharashtra State Security Corporation — a relatively less significant role.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray, who held a rally at Azad Maidan two days ago to decry the role of Patnaik and home minister RR Patil, claimed credit for the transfer and stepped up his demand for resignation of Patil.
The transfer, though, came as a surprise to the ruling alliance partner NCP.
Though the party had demanded Patnaik's removal for long, its deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar was in favour of putting his transfer on hold at the present juncture to deny credit to Opposition and the MNS. The MNS is a major rival of NCP in Pune, Nashik and some other urban areas.
But Chavan chose to sign the pending order on Thursday. "For me, it is just an administrative matter. I can't help if different inferences are derived from the transfer," Chavan told Hindustan Times.
But even some of the Congress leaders had reservations about the move. "Chavan's decision would give a handle to the MNS and other opposition parties to beat the NCP further," said a Congress minister.
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