Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray are not confirming it. Or denying it either. But insiders insist the NCP Chief and Sena scion had a closed-door meeting in New Delhi. The instant speculation about an NCP-Sena marriage has left both the Congress and BJP flummoxed and the latter wants a clarification from the Sena. But Pawar is inscrutable as always and Thackeray junior has simply jetted off on a vacation abroad. Leaving the backroom boys in all parties fuming.
First, second and third
When elections are around the corner, governments are usually in a hurry to take big decisions before the election code of conduct plays spoilsport.
But the Maharashtra government is dragging its feet on two decisions. One is the decision to rebuild the island city of Mumbai as different clusters in a planned manner. The order is awaiting the signature of Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.
Interestingly, another proposal to allow builders to erect taller structures in place of old, dilapidated buildings in the island city is also ready for the CM’s signature. The builders want the second since it leaves no scope for planning for bigger roads and open spaces.
The government is in a fix: should it pass the first order and ease congestion in a planned manner or okay the second one and please the cash-rich builder lobby at election time? Chavan has an interesting solution: both decisions have been put on hold. While Mumbai waits some more.
Crime no bar
Is a criminal record one of the requirements for becoming a BSP candidate in Mumbai? Both the candidates the party is considering giving tickets to have a criminal record.
One, active in the dock area, has been under the Mumbai police scanner for various activities. The second is gangster-turned-politician Arun Gawli.
Is the BSP looking for any more such candidates? No problem — there’s plenty more where those two came from!
Yeh dil mange more
Chief minister Ashok Chavan may have invited trouble by re-inducting the sulking Narayan Rane in his cabinet. For, within 24 hours of stepping in, Rane has started pestering Chavan for more. Rane, who was offered Industries, insisted that he get the either the Revenue or the Urban Development department.
But Patangrao Kadam, who took over the Revenue department when Rane rebelled last December, is in no mood to let go of the powerful portfolio.
In the end Rane had to blink and accept what he was offered. Is Chavan already regretting his magnanimity towards Rane?
Chief minister Chavan has antagonised his predecessor Vilasrao Deshmukh too, with his new cabinet. Deshmukh, who resigned reluctantly post the Mumbai terror attack, was expecting his brother Dilip Deshmukh to get a cabinet berth. But Chavan, who is keen to alienate Deshmukh, opted for Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil’s son Radhakrishna instead.
Perhaps we’ll soon hear of a closed-door meeting between Rane and Deshmukh?