Even one year after holding the top job, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan finds himself spending a lot of time learning the nuances of governance and policy making.
Chavan said he did not hesitate studying things thoroughly before taking decisions. And, he did not mind when his studious nature delayed important decisions or matters related to policy making or its implementation.
Chavan said he was still trying to familiarise himself with the structure of the state government and working of the legislature.
“I came to Maharashtra in adverse times,” Chavan told Hindustan Times on the eve of the first anniversary of his government. “Things here and New Delhi are totally different. Here you get immense executive powers – the CM’s signature makes things happen, but in New Delhi even the Prime Minister works in a setup that involves many people.”
Despite continuing teething troubles, Chavan, 65, found the year very exciting in his political career of 20 years. Before coming to Mumbai, he worked six years as minister of state in the PM’s office and at the same time served as the Congress general secretary incharge of several states.
The fact that he spent very little time in Maharashtra did not help him in dealing with local politicians – from the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party or the Opposition.
“The work culture here is different [from Delhi]. Here legislators come in groups and expect you to interact with them. But in Delhi, MPs meet by appointments,” he said.
However, many of his party workers believe that Chavan doesn’t trust his colleagues and listens to bureaucrats. The CM said he relied more on bureaucrats for learning complexities of laws, rules and regulations. “I can’t afford to make mistakes in the age of right to information,” he clarified. “I don’t prefer cases that benefit individuals, but I certainly take more interest in policies that impact general people.”
When questioned why important project such as the Navi Mumbai airport were getting delayed though it got clearance a week after he took over last year, a proposal to create housing regulator, announcement of new industry policy in the wake of migration of investors to neighbouring states, Chavan promised to expedite them. He, however, did not commit on the deadline.