The state that once took pride in being India’s premier state and a preferred investment destination is lagging behind, with the two parties running the governments since 1999 — the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) — busy blaming each other for the slow growth.
In an interaction with the media, agriculture minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar admitted that competitive coalition politics was hurting the state’s progress. “We need massive urbanization but for any proposal, like building townships near Pune, hurdles are created saying the NCP will grow,” said Pawar.
He called upon the state leadership to take corrective steps by planning things. He also gave the example of Gujarat where despite staunchly opposing chief minister Narendra Modi, the opposition — Congress — joins hands with him when it came to the state’s development.
A week ago, when Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi toured the state, there was growing chorus of the breaking alliance. Gandhi, in his address to party workers, exhorted them to strengthen the party in around 10 districts. Incidentally, he was referring to areas where the NCP held sway. Gandhi did not interrupt when
state president Manikrao Thakre declared they should desist from having a pre-poll alliance with the NCP that has been ‘cheating’ the Congress.
The unease is visible in Mantralaya where ministers from both the parties openly express displeasure about each other. Pawar blamed the Congress for initiating alliances with the Sena-BJP saying that it all began at Osmanabad zilla parishad elections. “I have seen a poster called Maha Yuti (Grand alliance) where the
Congress-RPI-Sena and BJP had joined hands,” he said.
Pawar said state leaders should emulate the Centre where the parties share an excellent relationship. “In last eight years, I had no differences with PM Manmohan Singh,” he said.