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Chavan comment betrays coalition dilemma

mumbai Updated: Jul 16, 2011 23:50 IST
Ketaki Ghoge
Ketaki Ghoge
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan has tried to quell the controversy over his remarks that giving the home portfolio to the NCP was a mistake by saying he has faith in home minister RR Patil. But Chavan’s actions following the blasts show otherwise.

Sources in the state secretariat said there are valid reasons for Chavan to want control over the department that has proved to be problematic.

Wednesday’s blasts have been the worst incident in a series of serious law and order glitches.

One of the glaring examples of lawlessness took place in January when additional district collector Yashwant Sonawane was burnt to death allegedly by the oil mafia.

The probe took off slowly even as there were allegations of involvement of local NCP politicians. Chavan was forced to intervene after a team of government officials complained about the lax probe.

Last month, shooting of senior journalist Jyotirmoy Dey outside his home in the city led to serious questions over law and order in the state.

Even this time Chavan had to address the questions, as the media refused to place trust in Patil or police investigations.

"Chavan’s statement is indicative of his unhappiness with the current situation. He came in to clean up governance but has realised that it’s not easy given the coalition politics in state,’’ said political scientist B Venkatesh Kumar.

He added that in the last decade of coalition politics in the state, there had been multiple centres of power with each minister keen on protecting his turf.

Many in the secretariat say that the home department itself is at times run in proxy by the deputy CM Ajit Pawar, who leads NCP in the government.

Officials admit that this has complicated the situation as Patil is not in control of certain issues such as police transfers.

"Chavan has been irked with news of petty police politics, police transfers and cannot interfere directly without getting NCP upset. It’s a serious limitation,’’ said a senior bureaucrat, on condition of anonymity.