A reprieve for Vilasrao Deshmukh
Despite Sonia Gandhi's unhappiness over the slow implementation of the Srikrishna Commission report, the Maharashtra CM will not be removed from chief ministership, reports Saroj Nagi.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi is unhappy with Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh over the slow implementation of the Srikrishna Commission report into the 1993 Mumbai riots and has asked him to go into its details "quickly".
Sonia summoned Deshmukh on Saturday for an update on the action on the report. Notwithstanding her concern over his delay in acting on the report, Deshmukh seems to have won a reprieve and there is, at present, no move to remove him from chief ministership.
The Congress president has, in fact, directed him to fill vacant posts in local bodies and expand his cabinet. "The Congress president asked me to look into greater detail into the Commission report and to do it quickly….She also asked me to fill as soon as possible the vacancies in the corporations and boards. There will be a cabinet expansion after that," a visibly relaxed CM told reporters after his 50-minute meeting with Sonia.
Deshmukh said he hopes to fill the three vacancies each from the Congress and NCP quota in the cabinet by the end of this month.
Also present was AICC general secretary Margaret Alva — who is reportedly critical of the CM for alienating all sections and wants Sonia to independently assess the situation in the state and take action The Srikrishna report dominated Deshmukh's separate interactions with Sonia and Home Minister Shivraj Patil in the wake of the Supreme Court asking the petitioners of PIL to provide a list of alleged lapses in implementing the Srikrishna report.
Deshmukh chose the line of least resistance while briefing the High Command.
"I myself am not happy with the implementation of the report. We have to do more," he told a news conference in an indication that he said as much to Sonia.
He assured his government was prepared to probe and re-investigate any lapses. The CM said he informed Sonia about the steps his government took on the issue since it came to power, including the number of cases registered and investigated, and the affidavits and progress reports filed in the apex court. He gave copies of it to the central leaders.