Exodus from Cong-NCP in Solapur revolves around DCC bank scam
SOLAPUR Solapur is one of the districts in Maharashtra, which has experienced maximum defections from the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders. Once known as the baston of the National Congress Party (NCP), the party witnessed eight senior leaders from the district leaving the party and three more on the way out.
In 2003, Sushilkumar Shinde and Vijaysingh Mohite Patil, both from Solapur, were appointed as chief minister and deputy chief minister respectively, something the state had not seen before. However, this time though, Congress-NCP alliance is struggling to find decent candidates for the upcoming assembly election.
Just before Lok Sabha polls 2019, NCP leader VijaySingh Mohite Patil and his son Ranjit Singh Mohite Patil joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which also inducted former Congress leader Ranjeetsinh Naik-Nimbalkar and fielded him from Madha. Ahead of state assembly polls another Dilip Sopal (Barshi) and Rashmi Bagal (Karmala) have joined BJP.
Congress member of legislative assembly (MLA) Dilip Mane (Solapur) and Congress leader Nagnath Kshirsagar from the district were inducted into the Shiv Sena. Along with the Congress MLA Siddharam Mhetre (Solapur) and Bharat Bhalke (Pandharpur), NCP MLA Baban Shinde (Madha) are on a wait and watch mode and their stand would dependent upon BJP-Shiv Sena alliance.
According to local observers, most leaders switched loyalties to retain local turf and save skin from the cases, one of which is Rs 1,000 crore fraud in Solapur District Central Co-operative (DCC) Bank, where politics in the district is revolving around.
In May 2018, the state government had dissolved the board of directors of Solapur DCC Bank under Section 110 of the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act and ordered detailed account inquiry while initiating action against all top political leaders of NCP and Congress in the district.
As BJP had limited base in the district most out of 34 directors were from NCP and Congress. Former Mohol NCP MLA Rajan Patil is the chairman of the bank. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had asked the state to take action against the board over financial irregularities of the bank.
After a detailed audit by the state government under Changdev Pingale, special auditor flying squad, Pune division, it was found that loan amount at least Rs 1,000 crore was disbursed irregularly to factories run by near and dear ones of the board of directors. And it was not paid on time meanwhile NPA (non-performing assets) was mounted to 42 per cent.
Pingale said, “After the audit, it was found that there were irregularities in loans disbursement process to the factories and there was poor recovery. Hence I had issued notices to concerned directors of DCC banks.”
After this report, it was confirmed that there were irregularities in loan disbursement process of Solapur DCC bank and state government dissolved the board of directors of the bank. Hence to avoid action, worried political leaders in the district decided to join the ruling party in search of political asylum. And then the high political drama of the mass exodus of political leaders from opposition parties was started ahead of Lok Sabha polls 2019.
In May 2019, the board of directors approached the high court and succeeded to get stay on audit report according to Pingale.“My audit report was challenged in the court and there is a stay order on it, hence as the matter is sub judice I can’t say more,’’ he said.
Former NCP MLA Rajan Patil said, “Government had only dissolved director body and no action was taken against any one of us. However, the high court has issued a stay under Section 88 of the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act, 1960, hence as of now there is no need to worry.”
“But state government has registered a case against one of my companies, but the court has dismissed the case. I am fighting with them through legally as I believe in our judicial system,” added Patil.
Out of 34 directors, 15 have taken loans from the DCCB and almost all of their accounts have turned NPA. Solapur is one of the districts in the state where the NCP and the Congress still have a hold. With this bank fraud allegations followed by mass exodus will surely find it difficult to secure maximum assembly seats to NCP-Congress alliance in the district.
-The election commission announced that polling for the 288 assembly constituencies in the state will take place on October 21. The votes will be counted on October 24.
-In 2014 assembly election NCP won four seats followed by Congress 3, BJP and Sena secured 2 and 1 seat respectively. However, Sangola baston was secured by Ganpatrao Deshmukh (Shetkari Kamgar Paksha).