MUMBAI/PUNE: A week after the cabinet meeting, when chief minister Prithviraj Chavan cleared crucial proposals to pacify deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, it appears that the NCP top leadership was still unhappy with the style of functioning of the CM.
NCP leader and deputy CM Ajit Pawar has blamed chief minister Prithviraj Chavan for delaying development and infrastructure works in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad.
Speaking at a function in Pune on Sunday, Pawar said, "The chief minister is sitting on files related to city's important projects. Despite repeated requests he has not taken decision on major issues like development plan and illegal constructions in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad. As a result of his inaction, all projects will get delayed and the burden of cost escalation will fall on the cities." He said that MLAs and MLCs across party lines have repeatedly asked the CM to take quick decisions on issues related to public interest.
"Every time the CM says he will look into the matter but does not take a decision. He visits Pune frequently but has avoided taking any major decision. The state government would not be able to take any policy decision once the election code of conduct is imposed ahead of the Lok Sabha elections," said Pawar.
A few months back, it was NCP president Sharad Pawar who expressed his displeasure about Chavan's functioning style. "Prithviraj Chavan wasn't clearing files and delaying decisions on crucial issues. I don't know whether (his) hands get paralyzed when it comes to clearing files. I hear there are files pending for three months. But I will keep quiet as we (NCP and Congress) have to go together (for elections)," the Maratha leader said.
At the weekly cabinet meeting on January 8, Pawar had launched a frontal attack against the CM, saying, if there was delay in clearing even routine proposals, then after the Lok Sabha and assembly polls, the Congress-NCP alliance will have to occupy opposition benches. Further, Pawar even threatened to quit the government and extend support from outside. Taking note of the banner of revolt raised by Pawar, Chavan had a marathon meeting with senior cabinet members of both Congress and NCP to discuss crucial proposals. In fact, in a single day, Chavan signed a record number of 144 files and approved Rs 622 crore for 147 irrigation projects.
In view of the quick response of the CM, in corridors of power, it was assumed that Pawar has been pacified and all was well in the Congress-NCP alliance. However, from Pawar's statement in Pune on Sunday, it appears that there was no end to the dispute between him and CM.
City NCP leaders defended Ajit Pawar's statement. "All major proposals have been pending with the state government for years. The CM has not cleared these proposals. Major projects like metro, airport and appointment of planning committee to hear suggestions and objections on the development plan for the old city area are pending," said NCP spokesperson Ankush Kakade.
NCP leaders said the state has failed to keep its promise of making the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) functional.
The leaders also blamed the urban development department (UDD), which is headed by the chief minister, for delaying work on the regional plan. In July last year, the state government had asked its town planning department to revise the regional plan for the Pune Metropolitan Region (PMR).
By mid 2013, the government was supposed to be ready with the plan. However, no steps have been taken so far and revision of the plan remains on paper, said the NCP leaders.
After the German Bakery blast on February 13, 2010, the government had promised to upgrade the equipment meant for the police force. However, three years later, as many as 30 proposals drawn up by the Pune police seeking sophisticated equipment are pending with the government, said NCP leaders.
The delay in finalization of airport plan has hit businesses and industries in the city. Also, proposals to increase civic staff are pending. The city's municipal corporation in 2009 proposed to set up exclusive police stations to handle civic crimes, including encroachments and violation of the Bombay Provincial Municipal Act (BPMC) and Maharashtra Regional & Town Planning (MRTP) Act, 1966. With the existing burden on the police, they are not able to pay attention to civic crimes. However, the CM has not taken any call on this proposal, they said.
Meanwhile, city Congress leaders are unhappy with the public statements issued by NCP leaders against the CM. Ajit Pawar's direct criticism of the CM did not go down well with city Congress leaders who have registered complaints with the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee