Deputy chief minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader seems to be rubbing off his Congress cabinet colleagues the wrong way.
Congress ministers have complained to chief minister Prithviraj Chavan of Pawar’s alleged highhandness in administration.
Ministers complained that Pawar calls review meetings across all departments without consulting the concerned minister. Ministers who hold the portfolios are informed of the meetings by a formal letter asking them to attend it.
“This is clearly overstepping his authority. No rules of business allow a deputy chief minister to step into portfolios of other ministers and issue directives on them. Many of us just ignore these meetings but its very irritating,’’ said a Congress minister on condition of anonymity.
However, Pawar met his match recently when he sent a letter to the co-operatives minister Harshawardhan Patil telling him that a review of co-operatives department had been slotted and he was invited.
Patil wrote back to Pawar telling him that he was “the minister of the co-operatives department and competent to take reviews of it’’. And, as such Patil would not attend any such review.
Last month, Pawar had even called a meeting of the urban development department to consider a proposal for introducing public parking scheme in Mumbai Metropolitan Region without keeping Chavan, who holds the urban development department, in the loop. He has similarly called review meetings of minority development department, home department, environment department in the past.
The meeting was, however, cancelled after Chavan was told about it by senior officials.
"He is moving too fast since he took over as the deputy CM. He walks all over NCP ministers, they don’t mind but we do," added another Congress minister, on condition of anonymity.
Congress colleagues are also irked because they have to go to Pawar, who as the finance minister holds the purse strings and can decide budget allocation of a department.
Congress minister have taken up this issue with Chavan, who asked them to ignore such directives by Pawar and not take review meetings too seriously. The issue is likely to be taken up with NCP chief Sharad Pawar.