The Congress party’s alliance partner, the Nationalist Congress Party, wants a share of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) pie. The MMRDA has undertaken several ambitious projects in the MMR region, mostly in Mumbai.
Senior NCP leader and water resources minister, Ajit Pawar, recorded the party’s protest over the issue in Wednesday’s weekly cabinet meeting. He asked chief minister Ashok Chavan, who heads MMRDA, to include guardian ministers of all MMRs, especially of the island city, on the authority’s board.
An NCP minister said MMRDA’s infrastructure projects gave the CM and Congress the ultimate political advantage because “our party doesn’t have proper representation or a say in the process”.
NCP’s Jayant Patil is the island city’s guardian minister, but he isn’t part of MMRDA’s governing body because he represents a constituency in western Maharashtra. Only local legislators, selected corporators in the MMR are eligible for the authority’s board membership. In view of this, Congress representative Naseem Khan, also a local MLA, found a place on the board.
A minister who attended the meeting said that the CM did not commit anything on demand. “The CM did not react much. He just said he would look into it.”
NCP’s senior minister Ganesh Naik, who is guardian for Thane district, demanded that his district be given more projects.
“Naik alleged discrimination on the part of MMRDA. The reason being that NCP is more powerful than the Congress in Thane.”
In another demand, Pawar asked Chavan to give local ministers representation on Nagpur’s MIHAN board. “Pawar demanded that NCP’s Anil Deshmukh (food and civil supplies) and Congress’ Nitin Raut (dairy development) must get positions on the MIHAN body.”