MUMBAI: Political arm-twisting by various leaders in the NCP and the Congress has left the post of Deputy Chief Minister in the Uddhav Thackeray government under a cloud of ambiguity and led the Congress to prevent one of its leaders from taking oath as minister.
The day began with a message of a new era of cooperation in Maharashtra politics. Posters featuring pictures of Bal Thackeray and Indira Gandhi together were seen near Shiv Sena Bhawan. Hoardings welcoming the new government in Maharashtra and party flags of Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP were seen on the stretch from Dadar TT to Shivaji Park.
However, the mystery around who will be the DCM is yet to be resolved. Senior NCP leader Praful Patel had said on Wednesday that the party would decide on the DCM candidate during its deliberations. However, that does not seem to have happened.
In the morning, while speaking at an event organized in Pune to mark the death anniversary of social reformer Jyotiba Phule, NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal made it clear that he would be sworn in as one of the ministers of the Uddhav government. Another NCP leader Jayant Patil too made it clear that he would be taking oath as a minister.
Meanwhile, Ajit Pawar told the media that he won’t take oath as a minister on Thursday. However, he also said that he has not let go of his claim on the post of DCM, indicating a fierce battle within the NCP over it.
While Sharad Pawar wants to punish his nephew Ajit for violation of party discipline by not giving him the DCM’s post, Ajit Pawar’s supporters within the party are hell-bent on seeing that he gets the post. Many of his supporters gathered at the Y B Chavan centre in South Mumbai on Wednesday evening as senior party leaders huddled to finalize the structure of the government. They shouted slogans demanding Ajit Pawar be made DCM as Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel left the venue.
The pressure politics by Ajit Pawar has prevented the party from taking a call on the DCM’s post and hence it has been kept vacant, sources said.
In the Congress, former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan was supposed to take oath as minister in the Uddhav Cabinet along with Balasaheb Thorat. However, news came in around noon that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has started its probe in the Adarsh society scam once more. ED officials who reached the society on Thursday sought to measure each and every flat in the society, sources said.
Chavan had to resign over the issue of corruption in granting permissions to this society in South Mumbai. As the issue cropped up again, Chavan’s name was dropped from the list of ministers and Dr Nitin Raut got the opportunity in his place, sources said.