The ouster call from Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray has apparently given Mumbai police commissioner Arup Patnaik a new – if short – lease of life.
Days before the Azad Maidan riots, the ruling combine had decided to shunt Patnaik out. But now, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan feels an immediate shift would only play into the hands of the opposition, said sources in the government.
It is now likely that Patnaik will get his promotion and then be eased out. “I have received a proposal for Patnaik’s transfer from the home department. The issue is being discussed,’’ was all Chavan said on Wednesday.
An official said the stalling has the nod of deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar.
“Shifting Patnaik now would make Thackeray a hero, something both Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) are not keen on,” said a senior official. But Patnaik’s transfer seems ultimately inevitable.
“Home minister RR Patil and Patnaik don’t share a good working equation. Patnaik does not even obey the minister’s orders,” said an NCP minister on condition of anonymity.
“The proposal to get him transferred was sent at least 12 days ago, before the Azad Maidan incident.”
Patnaik had been the latest bone of contention between the allies, who had been at odds over the appointment of senior IAS and IPS officials.
The NCP, which controls the home department, was not keen on Patnaik.
It is ironic that when Chavan finally seemed agreeable to the transfer, Thackeray’s demand to get Patnaik out stymied the move.