Ministers of Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) alliance at the recently concluded cabinet meet received a dressing down at the hands of Home Minister R R Patil. The home minister offered a few reality bites on Naxalism and predicted doomsday for the Congress-NCP combine if the current trend of governance continued.
“There was no need to find gold at Unnao. There is more gold available in the homes of officials from revenue and police departments,” thundered the minister during the weekly cabinet meeting. The recent raids by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) have resulted in confiscation of a huge gold cache at residences of officials such as tehsildars and high-ranking policemen.
Had the archaeological department conducted its operation at residences of babus and people in high society in Maharashtra,they would have found certainly more gold, said an angry Patil.
The scoffing began after Patil raised the issue of a special drive undertaken by state power utility — Mahavitaran — to cut power supply for arrears in the Naxal-affected Gadchiroli district. “Large numbers of people from the district do not have money to pay. They are poor and many of them cannot even purchase new bulbs for their homes. When we talk about welfare of people and development as our plank, the power cut would set a bad precedent,” Patil argued.
Countering Patil’s claims, cabinet colleague Deputy CM Ajit Pawar chided him and is believed to have said that he (Patil) starts delivering sermons whenever he gets an opportunity. A visibly upset home minister shot back saying that it was not right to crack such jokes, and warned that others would start doing the same with him. Angered by Patil’s remark, Pawar said there was no paucity of funds, and his finance and planning department had sanctioned an annual outlay of Rs 485 crore for Gadchiroli.
Before the meeting, Patil told his party colleagues during a pre-cabinet meeting that days were bad and they should fulfil duties to the best of their abilities. “Do not take a casual approach, as reports are very bad for the Congress and the NCP. Do not fight among yourselves. Otherwise you will bite the dust,” said the home minister.
‘Naxalism is at our doorstep’
Naxalism is not confined just to the districts of Gadchiroli or Gondia. Naxal activities have been traced to western parts of the state in the districts of Ahmednagar and Pune, Patil told his cabinet, sources said. You will only realise when the activities increase in such areas, he warned during his argument over Mahavitaran’s decision to cut power supply to Gadchiroli over arrears. “I can show you proofs of their activities in western Maharashtra. Every part of the state and every strata of the society should get benefits of developments,” Patil contended.