Expanding the party’s base in Maharashtra will be the Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) priority, deputy chief minister and party leader Ajit Pawar said on Wednesday.
Pawar, who was speaking at a function organised by his party to felicitate him and other party ministers, clearly indicated that he was the boss as far as the NCP’s team of ministers in the state was concerned.
“We will coordinate with chief minister Prithviraj Chavan to run the government but at the same time we will have to strengthen our party in the state,” Pawar said.
Pawar, nephew of party chief Sharad Pawar, took over as deputy chief minister (the highest post the NCP has in the Congress-NCP alliance government in Maharashtra) in a reshuffle of the ministry after the Adarsh society scam forced former chief minister Ashok Chavan to resign. Pawar replaced party leader Chhagan Bhujbal.
Pawar also had the agenda for NCP’s team of ministers clear. Insisting he wanted better co-ordination between the party and its ministers in the government, he said all 20 NCP ministers will have to devote time to the party.
The NCP is weak in Vidarbha and Marathwada and Pawar said all ministers will have to visit these two regions at least once a month.
He said NCP ministers will have to ensure they do not get involved in any scams like the Adarsh society scam in which politicians and bureaucrats have been accused of giving clearances to the project in return for houses in the Colaba tower.
Pawar said the party will soon fill its share of vacant posts in various government corporations even if ally Congress is in no hurry to do so.
Political parties use posts in government undertakings to empower local leaders because these posts have ministerial status. Pawar said those who occupied such positions in the past but did nothing for the party will not be renominated.
Pawar’s plans hint at his agenda in view of the 2012 municipal and district council elections that will show which party is the strongest in Maharashtra.
Pawar and colleagues, public works minister Chhagan Bhujbal and home minister RR Patil, referring to the outcome of the Bihar Assembly polls said people across India wanted development and were not bothered about caste politics.