Home minister RR Patil and rural development minister Jayant Patil seem to have called truce after their war of words following the July 13 blasts drew flak from the media and their party.
Sources in the home minister's office revealed that the two senior leaders of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had a close-door meeting at Vidhan Bhavan on Thursday to sort matters out and end the feud that was soiling the party's image.
Subsequently, RR Patil clarified that he had no intention of blaming his predecessor, Jayant Patil, when he remarked that purchase of weapons for the police force was made in a hurry. "I did not make any reference to Jayant Patil in my reply, and my intention was not to put the blame on him in any way,'' RR Patil clarified. He added that he had merely pointed out that there was haste in giving out two purchase tenders, which had to be revoked later.
The home minister's remarks, made when Jayant Patil was not present in the assembly, irked his party colleague, since the tenders handed 'hastily' were given out when he was the home minister. It was one of the first instances of an NCP minister taking on another publicly.
Sources in the NCP said that RR Patil was getting back at his fellow minister for the comments he made earlier. It may be recalled that after the July 13 serial blasts, Jayant Patil had raised questions over the delay in setting up closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in Mumbai. He said that the proposal had been cleared during his term and the delay, therefore, was inexplicable.
It remains to be seen if Thursday's meeting puts an end to the feud between the two ministers. Political rivalry between the two Patils goes all the way back to local district-level
politics. Both hail from Sangli in Western Maharashtra. RR Patil lost his job as the home minister to Jayant Patil after the November 2008 terror attack in Mumbai, only to get it back after the assembly
elections in 2009.
After the terror attack on July 13, there was considerable speculation that RR Patil might lose the home portfolio again. And Jayant Patil was one of the people tipped to take over the job.