In what is seen as a reconciliation effort between the warring ruling partners, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) boss Sharad Pawar, his nephew and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had a closed door meeting on Saturday in the city.
The meeting, at state guesthouse Sahyadri, lasted for more than three hours. The three leaders did not speak to the media after the meeting. Sources close to them said they discussed the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank, which created a rift between the two parties the banks was placed under the administrator’s rule for financial indiscipline.
Ajit, in particular, is unhappy with the CM’s swift action against the bank that the NCP controlled for more than a decade. Sources said Chavan told the Pawars that the government would not shy away from helping the bank recover quickly.
Sources said the trio also discussed putting several schemes, especially for the backward class, on the fast track. It would be important for the partners to expedite efforts in this direction because a sizable chunk of the Dalits have joined the opposition forces to launch an attack on the Democratic Front government.
According to sources, the CM told the Pawars that he will meet the Prime Minister with regards to getting additional land from Indu Mills for the Chaityabhoomi makeover. They also discussed a proposal to rename Dadar railway station as Chaityabhoomi, sources added. Since the NCP’s demands are to be met by the Congress ministers because they head the departments concerned, Saturday’s meeting is seen as a proactive step by NCP.
Though there were further indications that they would continue the partnership in the civic general elections early next year, a Congress leader said that the meeting would do good for both parties. “We may expect the government to do something positive ahead of the civic polls. The pace will be even faster if Pawar senior has given Chavan the assurance of help in the presence of his nephew.”