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Maharashtra CM, Sharad Pawar meet amid talks of discontent in MVA govt

Updated on Jul 04, 2020 01:47 AM IST

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar met chief minister (CM) Uddhav Thackeray at the proposed Bal Thackeray memorial site in Dadar on Friday, amid

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BySurendra P Gangan

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar met chief minister (CM) Uddhav Thackeray at the proposed Bal Thackeray memorial site in Dadar on Friday, amid reports of discontent among the three ruling partners over the decision-making process pertaining to the lockdown orders and the rising Covid-19 cases.

The duo reportedly discussed on a range of issues, including the resumption of activities for the revival of the economy, containment of the virus spread and coordination between the three parties of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance.

District administrations and some of the civic bodies across the state imposed a stricter lockdown soon after CM announced an extension of the ongoing lockdown on Sunday, while hinting at more relaxations. With different authorities imposing different rules, there is confusion and anger among the citizens, and the state ministers from the Congress and NCP also expressed their discontent over it, claiming that they were not taken into confidence over it. A section of the ministers from the two parties also complained about the dominance of the bureaucracy in the MVA government. The ministers cited the recent notification to extend the lockdown issued by the then chief secretary Ajoy Mehta on June 29, without keeping the leaders from two parties in the loop. “Mehta is appointed as the chief advisor to the CM after he retired as CS [chief secretary] on June 30. His appointment in the CMO [chief minister’s office] was opposed by the Congress and NCP. We fear that the dominance of the bureaucracy may only continue after this development. The Congress raised a similar complaint with the CM when some leaders met him two weeks ago. We want the ministers to be taken up into confidence while taking decisions related to larger public interest. Pawarsaheb is expected to have discussed these issues with the CM,” an NCP leader said.

Pawar also reportedly discussed the rising number of cases in the state and the steps that need to be taken. Though the NCP chief is in favour of more relaxations for industrial and commercial activities to ensure the revival of the economy, he also expressed his reservations over relaxations in areas that are seeing a spike in the cases.

“He, however, pressed for the need to avoid the confusion among the people over the lockdown curbs as was witnessed this week. It appeared that the political leadership and the administration were not on the same page while taking lockdown-related decisions,” the leader said.

While Mumbai Police prohibited citizens from venturing beyond the 2-km radius of their homes except in the case of emergencies and to go to work, some other municipal bodies imposed a curfew-like lockdown for eight to 10 days. According to a Congress leader, the police’s 2-km rule did not go well with many in the state cabinet. The leader said that even Sena leaders are not happy with certain measures.

“There are differences within the Sena leadership over the lockdown implementation in Thane and even over the bureaucratic reshuffle. However, things have been improving and it is not as bitter as it is being projected outside,” the leader said.

Nashik, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg, by using the power delegated to local authorities, in an order early this week also imposed stricter norms.

On June 18, ministers from Congress, Balasaheb Thorat and Ashok Chavan, met CM with their grievances and demanded an equal share in decision-making. The two parties also demanded for better coordination among the ruling parties.

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