Just ahead of the state’s crucial Budget session, the Democratic Front allies are bickering over power sharing in the state secretariat and seat sharing outside it.
The seat sharing is for the upcoming corporation and council polls — slated for April 11 — in Navi Mumbai, Aurangabad and Badlapur.
The Congress wants to contest more seats from Navi Mumbai, but the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is unwilling to part with more than 22 seats.
The latest salvo was fired on Thursday, when NCP Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal had a heated row with his junior colleague Abdul Sattar, minister of state for PWD.
Sattar had demanded more powers from Bhujbal for the running of the department, saying since he was from Marathwada, all of this region’s PWD works should be in his control. Bhujbal filed a complaint with Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.
NCP ministers are now claiming if this row is not resolved and Sattar not shown his place, they will also seek more powers from Congress ministers.
“Where’s the logic in Sattar’s argument? He is a rowdy person and Chavan needs to reign him in. We will demand housing rights in Mumbai, because our MOS for Housing, Sachin Ahir is from Mumbai. MOS for Urban Development Bhaskar Jadhav will ask for full autonomy for the Konkan, since he’s from there,” said an NCP minister, on condition of anonymity. Sattar was unreachable.
The NCP is also smarting over the 22-km Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link project, which was this week taken away from the NCP-controlled Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation, and given to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority.
Bhujbal admitted an argument had taken place in his cabin and that he had spoken to Chavan about it, but said it was a lone incident and not indicative of the state of the alliance.
“He [Sattar] has some powers over the department, I have mine, and some remain with the chief minister,” Bhujbal said.