After avoiding each other for nearly 10 days, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and his deputy Ajit Pawar may be forced to make a joint appearance in Delhi on Wednesday.
Pawar and Chavan have been giving each other the cold shoulder after the CM supported the Reserve Bank of India’s decision to appoint an administrator for the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank, the principal funding agency of all cooperative banks in the state.
However, Pawar, who also holds charge of the finance department, and the chief minister are expected to be present at the meeting with the planning commission on Wednesday. The state government is going to present its annual plan to deputy chairman of the commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia.
Sources close to Pawar said the minister was likely to go for the meeting, but had not committed to it yet. The CM and his deputy have been giving each other the slip after making public statements about the bank.
Pawar had termed the decision to dissolve the board of the state cooperative bank as a political conspiracy hatched in Delhi. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) dominated the bank’s board and Pawar was one of the directors.
However, the freeze in the relationship has been at the cost of governance and various functions. For instance, Chavan did not call the meeting of the state cabinet last Wednesday to avoid potential fights between the allies on the issue.
The next day, Pawar decided to skip the state government function organised by the textiles department and sent RR Patil instead. Prior to that, Pawar skipped a function at the Raj Bhavan since the chief minister was expected to be there.
Even on Monday, Chavan called for a meeting to finalise the state’s annual plan, but Pawar was conspicuously missing. However, according to sources in the NCP, the relations between the CM and his deputy will normalise soon.
“Chavan had spoken to senior Pawar [NCP chief Sharad Pawar] after seeing the NCP’s aggressive stand during the party’s executive meeting. The CM wanted to ensure that the alliance and the atmosphere was not vitiated. Pawar had assured him that the alliance would not be hampered,” a senior party functionary said on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.