Sharad Pawar floated the NCP in 1999 after he was expelled from the party for raising to Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin issue. However, in the same year, the two parties forged a post-poll alliance to form the government as none of the parties got clear majority in assembly elections. Since then they won two more assembly elections—in 2004 and 2009 but their relations have been anything but smooth.
1. In 2001, then CM Vilasrao Deshmukh set up a judicial probe in the Enron power purchase deal though it put pressure on Sharad Pawar who, as Congress CM, signed the deal in 1993.
2. Deshmukh is also believed to have tricked anti-graft activists to get some NCP ministers sacked for corruption. NCP has not been able to rehabilitate some of these ministers.
3. Congress made regions like Vidarbha believe that the NCP diverted irrigation money meant for the region to its fiefdom western Maharashtra. The party got the Governor to get special constitutional powers to remove the irrigation backlog of backward regions.
4. Prithviraj Chavan refused to bail out the NCP-controlled state co-operative bank and directed to dissolve its board of directors. NCP pursued this as an effort to reduce its clout in the cooperation sector.
5. When NCP got the new water bill approved the Congress forced the government to change it. After drinking water, the second top priority of water allocation was given for irrigation because NCP wanted industries to be given the preference.
6. Prithviraj Chavan has been delaying clearances to NCP’s proposals, and he did not approve some proposals like redevelopment of Mantralaya and government colony. He shot down NCP’s plan of the sea-link and instead he planned a coastal road in Mumbai. He also got MMRDA to do the trans-harbour link against NCP’s wish.
7. Chavan launched a frontal attack on NCP by questioning escalated cost of irrigation projects. He demanded a white paper on the issue and when NCP countered his claims, he demanded that the paper be furnished in a revised format. He said recently that irrigation contractors were gifted huge money for doing nothing.
8. Chavan refused to financial aid to the defunct district co-operative banks saying that the state coffers did not have funds to dole out. Some of this banks faced problems because of irregular investment in fraudulent companies like Hometrade.
9. NCP believes that the CM prompted Congress leaders to leak out information that saw its ministers like Sunil Tatkare and Chhagan Bhujbal mired in corruption controversies. It also believes that the Congress supporters are behind filing public interest litigations against NCP ministers.