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Parties scramble to claim credit

Key political parties in Maharashtra, including Shiv Sena, Praful Patel's NCP and Raj Thackeray-led MNS, are vying to hog credit for Jet Airways chief's decision to reinstate sacked employees.

india Updated: Oct 17, 2008 20:30 IST

Key political parties in Maharashtra, including Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel's NCP, Shiv Sena and Raj Thackeray-led MNS, are vying to hog credit for Jet Airways chief Naresh Goyal's decision to reinstate sacked employees.

While Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray said, "Jet must have now realised the power of Sena's force," Raj Thackeray said, "no matter what others may claim, people know what led to Jet reinstating the staff."

The MNS chief's apparent reference was to his party's threat after the airline announced the lay-off that no Jet flight would be allowed to operate in Maharashtra till the decision was rescinded.

Patel, who enjoys cordial relations with the Jet chief, also jumped into the fray, saying Goyal took the big decision within a day of his asking the airline's boss to resolve the issue.

"I had told him (Goyal) that in 24 hours, we must find a resolution to this problem, otherwise we in the ministry would certainly not be very happy with the approach of Jet Airways," Patel said.

At a press conference late on Thursday night, Goyal had said the reinstatement decision was "not under political pressure" and that he had not talked to any politician on the issue.

"There was no need to indulge in such a farce," Uddhav told PTI. "It is difficult to digest that Goyal took the decision without any pressure," he said.

NCP spokesperson Prakash Binsale said his party would not like to claim credit for reinstatement of the employees.

However, when his attention was drawn to Patel saying his talk with Goyal led to the recall of the staff, Binsale said, "Patel spoke to Goyal not as an NCP leader but as the Civil Aviation Minister. Our party would not like to claim credit."

Binsale ridiculed MNS threats to block flights, saying "even a small boy knows that nobody other than bonafide passenger is allowed on the tarmac. There is no point in giving hollow threats."

Asked if NCP chief and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had spoken to Goyal or had played either a direct or indirect role in resolving the matter, Binsale said he was not aware of any such development.