A day after Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar met Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, the Congress stepped up its criticism of the Union minister, with Chief Minister Ashok Chavan leading the pack.
Chavan said there was no need for anyone to approach an extra-constitutional authority (Thackeray) to ensure the protection of Australian cricket players.
“The state government is competent enough to handle any law and order problem,” he said.
The Pawar-Thackeray meeting was all the more significant in the wake of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s local train commute when he visited Mumbai on Friday.
His decision to travel in local trains has won the hearts of Munbaiites, and both the Sena and the NCP need to negate this effect.
“The visit came after Rahul Gandhi put the Sena in its place and after he [Pawar] was cornered by the Congress Working Committee over price rise. So the politics is all in the timing, even if they did not discuss anything but the IPL,” Vilasrao Deshmukh said.
Sources in the Congress said Chavan is talking tough because of pressure from the party high command.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi also made the party’s displeasure public when he said law and order were state subjects.
On Monday, the party continued to attack Pawar on the price rise issue.
“Food inflation falls in the mandate of agriculture, food distribution and consumer affairs ministries,” Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said.
“The NCP and the Sena are facing crisis. They want more visibility and there is no better way than political theatrics,” said political commentator Surendra Jondhale.