The state Congress leaders may be holding their peace over the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSC Bank) issue, but they have not let up their attack on the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar.
A day after the Reserve Bank of India dissolved the board of directors of the NCP-controlled MSC Bank on charges of irregularity and appointed administrators, state Congress chief Manikrao Thakre hit out at Ajit Pawar for clearing power generation projects without considering the state's electricity requirements. Pawar heads the state's energy department.
"There is no need for as many power generation plants in the state because the ones under construction will meet the state's increased demand in the future," he said at a function after the Bharatiya Janata Party's Maharashtra vice-president, Madhukarrao Kamble, and his supporters joined the Congress on Sunday.
Pawar has been pushing to enhance the generation capacity of the power-starved state. The NCP, which has held the energy department portfolio for the past 11 years, has promised that it will make Maharashtra power surplus by next year.
Sources said Thakre was opposed to the large number of power plants because water resources were being allocated to industry, especially in mineral-rich Vidarbha where more than three dozen coal-based plants are proposed, instead of irrigation.
Last month, Thakre led a protest against allocation of water resources to industry. The Congress had successfully stalled a Bill that prioritised industry over agriculture in water allocation in the state Budget session.
However, Thakre slammed the Opposition for demanding Pawar's resignation and said the deputy CM did not need to quit over the MSC Bank row.
It is but natural for Ajit Pawar to feel bad because he controlled the bank for a long period, Thakre said, "But I feel that Pawar has misunderstood the entire issue."