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Is Prithviraj Chavan finally hitting out at the Pawars?

CM calls for a white paper on irrigation days after Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the state.
By Zeeshan Shaikh | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAY 05, 2012 01:15 AM IST

Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, blamed for his mellow approach in tackling the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), may have finally hit out where it will hurt his aggressive political ally the most.

Chavan’s attempt to target Ajit Pawar and the NCP by calling for a white paper on the Irrigation Department is seen by many as the hardening of his stand, after he has been blamed in the past by people within his party for going soft on the NCP.

The need to commission a white paper on the NCP is seen as Chavan’s attempts to put pressure on the uncle-nephew duo of Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar. The NCP supremo had recently criticised Prithviraj Chavan’s luncheons with drought-hit farmers and asked him to concentrate instead on providing relief to drought hit areas.

“All these years, in spite of his party handling the irrigation department, Sharad Pawar has been trying to shift the blame on the chief minister and the governor. A white paper will at least expose what NCP ministers have been doing in the department,” a senior Congress functionary said.

Interestingly, Chavan’s decision to order the white paper comes days after Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the state, where many Congressmen spoke about the need to go alone in the state.

It is also believed that Chavan may be hardening his stance as a last-ditch attempt against becoming redundant in state politics. “The decision to announce a white paper has nothing to do with improving peoples’ conditions. It is basically a stratagem to tackle and corner the NCP,” political analyst Prakash Bal said.

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