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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Maharashtra CM Chavan under pressure to quit, digs in his heels

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Mumbai, June 21, 2014
First Published: 10:40 IST(21/6/2014) | Last Updated: 19:58 IST(21/6/2014)

Even as there were indications of behind-the-scenes manoeuvring in Delhi over leadership change in the state, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Friday claimed ignorance about any such move, but hit back at his detractors over allegations of slow decision-making.

It is learnt Chavan has conveyed to the party top brass that the NCP’s opposition to him centred on him not clearing two to three files of vested interests that were problematic.

Speaking to reporters in Pune, Chavan said: “I have not been sounded out on this or called to Delhi in this connection. I will go to Delhi if asked. I am always ready to do any work given by the party.”

“Until a decision is made, I will continue with my work. I was sent here with a specific mandate,” he said.

Senior Congress leaders AK Anthony and Ahmed Patel had met NCP chief Sharad Pawar at his residence on Thursday, giving credence to speculation of leadership change. Chavan however said he had no idea of what transpired in this meeting and claimed such meetings between allies were a “routine affair”.

He however slammed opponents’ charge of slow decisionmaking by pointing out he had taken the most number of decisions during his tenure as the chief minister. “Not a single file is pending. This information can be easily accessed under the Right to Information [Act] now.”

Sources said pushed to the wall, Chavan has dug in his heels and is fighting allegations made against him. “The CM has conveyed to the party top brass that the NCP’s ongoing propaganda against him stems from private interests. He said clearing these decisions pertaining to some developers was not beneficial to the party, nor in public interest. He said he is willing to show the decisions made by him so far, which outnumber those of several other CMs,” said a senior Congress leader.

He added Chavan’s defence had worked in some quarters, with senior leaders now wondering whether the NCP chief should be allowed to dictate how the party should approach the assembly polls. “There is some soft corner for Chavan right now. He has also told legislators that funds would not be an issue for campaigning before polls, and is trying to win them around,” said another leader.


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