The strained relationship between coalition partners Congress and Nationalist Congress Party has spilled over into public view, with Deputy Chief Minister Chagan Bhujbal taking a swipe at the chief minister, who he said was not clearing infrastructure projects quickly enough.
“I would like to tell all my colleagues that we need to take action. We can’t sit on files for years and not take decisions on projects,” Bhujbal said during the inauguration of the second carriageway of the Bandra-Worli sea link even as Chief Minister Ashok Chavan looked on.
Since Chavan became CM in 2008, the Congress leader has been at loggerheads with Bhujbal, who runs the Public Works Department (PWD).
“My colleagues need to understand that if they don’t expedite work and clear files faster they won’t be able to maintain their positions,” Bhujbal added. Chavan has reportedly taken more than a year to clear the files of the Worli-Haji Ali sea link project.
PWD insiders have long complained that Chavan scuttles most of its projects. The NCP has controlled the PWD since 1999, when the Congress-NCP came into power. The CM reportedly took more than a year to clear the Bandra Redevelopment Project, said to be Bhujbal’s pet project.
The proposed redevelopment of Mantralaya was moved from the PWD to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), which is headed by Chavan. All of which has ticked off the NCP in general and Bhujbal in particular. Chavan downplayed Bhujbal’s potshot, saying: “Your speed of working is phenomenal. However, we need to work together to turn Mumbai into a global city.”