Prompted by his party’s demand, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has taken an aggressive stance to get the Congress a fair share from the state budget that will be presented later this month.
All Congress ministers and legislators have ganged up to force the deputy chief minister and finance minister Ajit Pawar to get their demands approved. Following their tough stand against the senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader, Chavan on Thursday insisted on having a meeting with Pawar. In the meeting, Chavan decided to review personally the budget provisions, which is a rare thing to do for any CM.
A senior Congress leader told the Hindustan Times requesting anonymity, because he is not authorised to speak to the media, that Congress legislators feared Pawar may favour his own party legislators while allotting special grants or approving special schemes. In a power-sharing formula, the NCP has been given the finance department for the last 11 years. The Congress legislators have always accused its alliance partner of tweaking the budget in NCP’s favour.
“Considering our experience, the state Congress president Manikrao Thakre took the matter to the CM, who in turn, asked all his legislators who are more in numbers than the NCP legislators, to submit their respective demands to his office,” the leader said.
Specific budget provisions help the ruling parties to influence voters especially ahead of the polls. The Congress is engaged in a power struggle with the NCP and it wants to outsmart its partner in the forthcoming local-self government elections and the city civic polls.
In Thursday’s meeting with Pawar, Chavan got some senior Congress ministers involved. He apprised Pawar of the Congress view and then volunteered to sit with the finance minister to review budget demands beginning from Thursday itself. The duo is expected to complete the exercise by the weekend.