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HindustanTimes Mon,20 Oct 2014

Public posturing or turbulence ahead in Maharashtra?

Ketaki Ghoghe, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, September 12, 2013
First Published: 09:07 IST(12/9/2013) | Last Updated: 09:19 IST(12/9/2013)

Even as chief minister Prithviraj Chavan hit out at NCP chief Sharad Pawar for his comments on slow decision making in the government on Wednesday, political circles are abuzz with speculation over what could have triggered the Maratha strongman’s unusually harsh remarks.

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The tussle threatens to turn into a full-blown war, with the NCP planning to release pending decisions of departments controlled by the CM every day to state Congress chief Manikrao Thakre.

Pawar has reportedly asked his ministers to provide information on their pending proposals.

Sources close t o Chavan have pointed to certain files of NCP-favoured developers not getting a go-ahead, with Chavan himself hinting at it, saying he takes time to clear files of individual interest.

The NCP has refuted the allegation as bogus to deflect from the real issue of tardy governance.

“The NCP chief was expressing the sentiment of the people and of the majority within the government. Yes, we are upset with the slow decision-making because it affects public interest. There are hundreds of decisions — from 20% reservation for affordable housing, to rental housing — that have been kept on the back burner,” said NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik.

Another spokesperson Sanjay Khodke said f unds worth thousands of crores meant for irrigation projects in the Vidarbha region had lapsed because no decisions were taken on their revised administrative approvals.

Both Chavan and Pawar are aware that they have to contest the 2014 assembly as well as Union polls as an alliance, and typically the allies indulge in mud-slinging before the polls to grab the opposition space, said a senior politician.

Pawar’s comment is also a signal that certain decisions and files have to be cleared before the polls that have direct impact on the people as they will improve the alliance’s leverage during polls.

Political observers, however, said the comments seem to be public posturing before the 2014 polls. “Pawar’s comments are a bid to discredit the CM, and perhaps dent his public image before the elections,” said political analyst Surendra Jondhale.

The drama is clearly not over yet.


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