Pawar displeased with Congress ‘go solo’ remarks
NCP chief Sharad Pawar has expressed displeasure over comments by Maharashtra Congress leaders that they want to contest local body elections on their own, rather than being part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi. Newly elected Mumbai Congress president Bhai Jagtap went to meet Pawar after taking charge. Pawar is learnt to have asked sarcastically whether Jagtap, too, was planning to go solo. Earlier, Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole had made similar statements. Pawar did not seem to take Patole’s remark seriously and brushed it aside, saying he does not comment on what ‘small leaders’ say.
Two parties tussle over Assembly Speaker post
Impressed with the performance of Bhaskar Jadhav as Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly, Shiv Sena president and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray wants to retain him in that chair. In return, Shiv Sena wants to offer the forest ministry to Congress, which also wanted the Speaker’s post. The forest minister’s seat is lying vacant following the resignation of Sanjay Rathod, who had to go after the Tik Tok star suicide controversy. It is learnt that Bhaskar is also keen to continue as Speaker of the Assembly, provided his party gives him the responsibility. Jadhav has reportedly said that there is a growing sentiment among the constituents of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government that the Speaker should be from Shiv Sena. Nationalist Congress Party and Congress are the other parties in the coalition.
Kharge non-committal on next party chief
Congress is waiting for the pandemic to get over to elect its new president. Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who is in Mumbai, said party president Sonia Gandhi will continue as interim president. Word is that Rahul Gandhi would be pursuaded to take up the post he left after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections following the party’s poor show. In the next Congress working committee meeting, the election of a new president will be discussed. All members will be called to participate in the meeting. In all likelihood, that meeting will take place next year.
Commission report on Khadse goes missing
The inquiry commission report giving a clean chit to former minister Eknath Khadse in a land grab case is missing from the state secretariat. Following allegations that Khadse had bought a three-acre plot reserved for the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation in Bhosari near Pune at less than one-sixth of its market value, former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had set up a probe commission headed by retired judge Dinkar Zoting. The commission had submitted its report, which cannot be found. Khadse left BJP and joined NCP last year.
Our correspondent in Maharashtra