Budget ahead: Maharashtra CM on shaky ground | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Budget ahead: Maharashtra CM on shaky ground

Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who made transparency and credibility the buzz words in Mantralaya after he assumed office four months ago, will have a tough time during the state Legislature’s budget session that starts on March 14 because of a series of controversies involving him.

mumbai Updated: Mar 12, 2011 02:05 IST
Dharmendra Jore

Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who made transparency and credibility the buzz words in Mantralaya after he assumed office four months ago, will have a tough time during the state Legislature’s budget session that starts on March 14 because of a series of controversies involving him.

A fiery Opposition has ready arsenal to attack Chavan, who is fast losing the respect he commanded from his ministers and the public. A junior Congress minister said that he treated Chavan as his idol until the recent developments. Party leaders said Chavan was here to stay because of strong backing from party president Sonia Gandhi.

Political commentator Pratap Asbe said that the controversies have exposed Chavan. “We see a lot of difference between what he has been preaching and what he has executed in the past,” Asbe said. Asbe said Chavan’s alleged role in a S-band satellite deal between Antrix and Devas or in the appointment of ousted central vigilance commissioner PJ Thomas show his inefficiency as an administrator. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that Chavan had cleared Thomas’s name for the CVC’s post.

Chavan has two more crucial issues that he needs to sort. Right To Information activist Ani Galgali, whose query in 2008 questioned the allotment of an affordable flat in Wadala to Chavan, said that the leader was never clean. “He forged his income certificate to procure a flat that was meant for the economically weak. He said he would return the flat to the government but he hasn’t,” Galgali said.

The gram panchayat of Saidapur village near Karad, Chavan’s hometown, has moved the Bombay high court against the allotment of land to his family’s education trust in the village alleging that the land was reserved for a water supply project and was given away at a cheap rate. Asbe doubted whether the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party ministers and legislators would defend Chavan against the Opposition. “More so because Chavan has upset his party workers and alliance partner by delaying several demands in the name of transparency,” he said. Chavan was unavailable for comment because he was travelling. State Congress spokesperson Anant Gadgil defended him. “Opposition should set their house in order first.”

Congress MLC resigns

CM Prithviraj Chavan’s election to the Legislative Council became imminent on Friday when state Congress general secretary and legislator Sanjay Dutt gave up his seat for the CM. Chavan, a Rajya Sabha member, needs to get elected to either House of the Legislature within six months of assuming office. This period ends on May 11, 2011.

The controversies

Alleged role in an S-band satellite deal between Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of the ISRO, and private firm, Devas

The Prime Minister’s statement that Chavan, as Union minister, had cleared PJ Thomas’s name for the CVC’s post

Submission of a false income certificate for getting a flat meant for economically weaker sections

Getting reserved land at a cheap rate for his family’s education trust in his hometown