Congress party workers go on indefinite hunger strike, alleging stepmotherly treatment during disbursement of funds for development work in the taluka by Zilla Parishad; ruling NCP dismisses allegations, says strike is a political stunt
The age-old political rivalry between Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and State Cooperative Minister Harshawardhan Patil once again came to the fore at Zilla Parishad (ZP) office yesterday after a spat broke out between the NCP and the Congress party workers.
On guard: Police personnel create a buffer zone between the protesting NCP and Congress party workers to prevent untoward incidents outside the Zilla Parsihad office in camp yesterday
Later, the spat took a bitter turn as workers from both the parties resorted to sloganeering and demonstrations against each other.
Congress workers demand probe against the alleged corruption in various ZP departments. Pics/Mohan Patil
According to the Congress party members, they sat on an indefinite hunger strike outside the ZP office in Camp after accusing that the ruling NCP for giving step-motherly treatment while distributing funds for the development work in Indapur taluka. Soon, the NCP workers barged onto the building premises and started sloganeering against them.
“It was a scheduled hunger strike for which we had already taken permission from the local police station. Besides, we also gave a proposal to the ZP CEO Anil Kawade and informed him about our strike. But the NCP workers forcibly tried to take steam out of our protest,” said Congress Market Committee Chairperson (Indapur) Mayur Singh Patil.
Surprisingly, the Congress party workers received support from their political rivals — Shiv Sena and BJP. Indapur, which is just 50 km away from Baramati — stronghold of the Pawar family, is considered to be Harshawardhan Patil’s bastion.
Political pundits claimed that Deputy CM and Patil have been at loggerheads for several years now and have often engaged in war of words at every possible opportunity.
In a speech addressing to the locals in his constituency last August, Patil took a dig at his rival by claiming that some people were known for their aggressive way of functioning that was similar to the strong-arm tactics used by goons.
Congress group leader in ZP, Rutuja Patil, said she even filed an RTI query seeking information on why funds for only a few ZP members were sanctioned by its president. She alleged that proposals sent by Congress members were kept on hold. “It’s been three months since I filed the query, but haven’t received any reply,” she said.
Congress workers also alleged immense corruption in Women and Child Welfare, Agriculture and Dalit Locality Improvement (Dalit Wasti Sudhar Yojana) departments, and said they would continue the hunger strike until a probe was initiated in this matter.
Refuting Patil’s allegations, ZP president and NCP leader Datta Bharane said that he never discriminated while sanctioning funds to any of the talukas in the district. “The funds have been allotted considering the need of that particular. For the last couple of years, I have sanctioned Rs 1.5 crore for Indapur. The hunger strike by Congress party workers is a political gimmick,” he said.