The tussle between the ruling Congress and Nationalist Congress Party over the Reserve Bank of India's decision to dissolve the board of directors of the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank has led to a tussle between the two parties with NCP chief Sharad Pawar himself engaging in a war of words with Congress leaders.
The bank, which is the apex bank of cooperative banks in the state, is dominated by the NCP.
Speaking to media persons in Satara, Pawar blamed the state government, particularly the Cooperative Department, which is with the Congress, for the action against the bank.
Pawar said action was taken against the bank because the state did not pay the amount of the loans for which it had stood surety.
Pawar also ridiculed state Congress president Manikrao Thakre who had, on Sunday, implied that the union agriculture minister was aware of the action taken against the state apex cooperative bank.
"One must know which institution comes under whose jurisdiction. NABARD is not under my jurisdiction. Knowledge of administration is essential (before commenting on the issue)," Pawar said. It will be better for him (Thakre) to not make wrong statements, he added.
Thakre had earlier said the RBI's action was a follow-up on the report by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and it came under Pawar's purview. This is the first time after he joined the UPA, that Pawar has openly criticised the Congress. However, he insisted the issue in no way would affect the government in Maharashtra.
He said the state cooperative bank was financially sound and in trouble only because it could recover the loans. "It was necessary for the government to pay the amount for which it has stood surety. We have been requesting past and present chief ministers to pay the amount. Unfortunately, that did not happen", he said.
Pawar said he would talk about the issue with the RBI and other concerned individuals in Delhi. Meanwhile, in Delhi, the Congress dismissed allegations by Pawar's nephew and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar that the RBI action was politically motivated. "If the inference is that in any manner there is Congress influence in RBI's order, I would like to write it off," party spokesperson Manish Tewari.
Meanwhile, Thakre said, "As NABARD is associated with agriculture, I thought Pawar would know of the report." In response to Ajit Pawar's conspiracy allegations he said, "The CM and deputy CM should sit together and resolve these issues. There is no conspiracy"