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The art of sparring

india Updated: Apr 11, 2010 01:34 IST
Shailesh Gaikwad
Shailesh Gaikwad
Hindustan Times
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Want to learn the art of sparring without hurting? Turn to the ruling alliance partners, Congress and NCP. They run each other down and still share power.

Campaiging in Navi Mumbai for civic polls, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan insisted that his party (i.e. Congress), and not the NCP, was capable of infrastructure development. The NCP has been ruling Navi Mumbai for more than a decade. NCP’s ever combative Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal reacted, saying that Chavan should first clear the pending files of various proposed projects. Chavan had boasted that the dinner may be organised by someone else but “I am the one who decides whose plate should have what”.

To that, Bhujbal said: “He (Chavan) can go to a five-star hotel for that job..."

Now this would create an impression that the Congress-NCP are on the verge of a split and the state government may collapse any moment. But wait: The two parties are in a happy alliance for Aurangabad civic polls where their target is the Shiv Sena-BJP combine. Both parties are comfortably running the budget session in the Legislature at the same time.

Naik-Raj bhai bhai !

People are missing MNS Chief Raj Thackeray’s pyrotechnics in the civic election in Navi Mumbai. Raj’s speeches did not have the usual firework against Ganesh Naik, the local strongman and NCP minister who has ruled Navi Mumbai for over a decade. Is this to do with the friendly relations between Naik and Raj or just caution on the latter’s part that Naik’s defeat should not become Sena’s gain? The tussle here is between the NCP and the Sena. And Raj would rather see an NCP mayor than one from Sena in Navi Mumbai.

Friend or foe

Is Revenue Minister Narayan Rane a friend or a foe of the chief minister? Chavan’s aides are confused. Earlier this week, when the Opposition accused CM of favouring a developer during his tenure as revenue minister a few years ago, Rane defended Chavan but promised an inquiry into some specific charges. Was this a tactic to keep the controversies alive till some time in the future when it may prove handy? In politics you can never be sure of friends or foes.