Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, on Saturday, sought to put an end to the verbal duel between the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders, triggered by a remark by chief minister Prithviraj Chavan that Congress should have retained major portfolios, including home and finance.
Talking to media after a meeting, Pawar said the need of the hour was to focus on dealing with the situation arising after the serial blasts in Mumbai. He made it clear that Chavan's comment was not specifically meant for home minister R R Patil.
"The chief minister feels that home department should be with the Congress,” Pawar said, but took a dig at Chavan saying that top leaders of both allies were capable of making decisions on the power-sharing formula. "Others need not interfere in this matter," he said.
Chavan's remark about retaining the home and finance portfolios has clearly angered the NCP. Its leaders think that the chief minister wants to shift the blame of the government's failure to prevent terror attack entirely on the NCP and home minister R R Patil. In a bid to pacify his allies, Chavan, on Friday, clarified that he was speaking about the power-sharing formula, which was worked out between the two parties back in 1999. He maintained that he was not making a reference to anyone and that he had full faith in Patil.
Pawar's statement is seen as an attempt to avoid friction with the Congress at a time when people are unhappy with the government for its failure to prevent yet another terror attack.
NCP spokesperson Madan Bafna said, “For the last 12 years, NCP has had control of home department and finance department and we have worked well taking everyone on board. Both, Pawar and Patil are seasoned ministers. The chief minister himself has clarified his statement, and we don't want to talk on the issue again.”