Cracks resurfaced in the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party after Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal’s comment that party colleague RR Patil, then deputy chief minister and home minister, did not want to venture out on the fateful 26/11 night.
Patil denied the charge.
“Every one knows where I was that night and what I did as home minister,” he told Hindustan Times. “We (the ministers) worked as a team.”
Bhujbal did not retract his statement that appeared in sections of print and electronic media on Wednesday.
It is known that Patil and Bhujbal belong to different camps in the NCP. The former is considered as Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar’s supporter while Bhujbal has his own group.
The tussle between the two prominent groups came to fore early this month when Ajit didn’t get the deputy chief minister’s post, which ultimately went to Bhujbal.
Bhujbal had a reason to resent because Patil was given Home department again despite his alleged failure in tackling the terror attacks.
Six years ago, Patil had taken over the Home department following Bhujbal’s resignation as deputy CM and home minister. After Bhujbal was absolved of all charges that led to his resignation he too expected the Home department in his third term as deputy CM.
The divide between Bhujbal and Patil widened after the new Home minister encouraged anti-Bhujbal police officers. To Bhujbal’s chagrin, Patil overhauled the department and discontinued most of Bhujbal’s policies.
State NCP spokesperson Madan Bafna said the issue did not merit any official comment because “the two ministers involved would know things better”.