MUMBAI: All is not well with the Maha Vikas Aghadi in Maharashtra. The Congress party, a key alliance partner in this government, continues to take an anti-government stand and has even threatened to walk out of the government if their demands are not met.
The standoff began after the Maharashtra Congress chief took the stand of supporting the oil refinery at Nanar in Konkan, at a time when the Shiv Sena has decided to oppose it.
Maharashtra Congress party president Nana Patole said that the oil refinery at Nanar will bring huge investments and provide employment to the local people. "The state government should address the issue pertaining to Nanar oil Refinery. The project should happen at Nanar only," Patole insisted, even as his party's own sarpanch Prabhudesai from Nanar opposed the project saying it will threaten the ecosystem and beauty of the Konkan region.
Shiv Sena president and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray emphasised that they are with the people of the Nanar. If they do not want the project, then it will be relocated to another location, he promised.
This has been the Sena's stand for the last few years -- even when they were with the BJP and the Devendra Fadnavis government was at the helm in Maharashtra. Konkan region, it must be noted, is the Shiv Sena's biggest vote bastion.
Another disagreement surfaced when Congress minister Nitin Raut opposed the government's decision to cancel reservations in promotions. Raut demanded that reservations in promotions should be continued so that officers from the deprived classes get an opportunity. However, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar was not in favour of the suggestion.
An aggrieved Raut met Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole and expressed his displeasure with the Uddhav Thackeray government over this move. Nana Patole took up the issue and demanded that the state government should immediately implement reservations in promotions. He threatened that the Congress party will not hesitate to walk out of the government if the common minimum program of all three parties is not followed by the Uddhav Thackeray government.
Earlier, the Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi had also written a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and reminded him of the coalition dharma and asked him to implement the common minimum program of all three parties in letter and spirit.
"It is not the sole responsibility of the Congress to run the government in the state successfully. We as a party will continue to fight for our ideology and commitment towards the backward and minority," a senior Congress leader said while requesting anonymity.
Senior Congress minister Balasaheb Thorat said there are issues in government but they will be resolved when the three leaders of the coalition parties sit together.