State cabinet set for revamp
Sharad Pawar's outburst against Home department after Pune blasts, and developments at Congress-level indicate an impending revamp in the state cabinet
The ruling Congress and NCP may soon go for major changes in the state cabinet. While addressing his party office bearers and ministers at the Mahila Mandal auditorium near YB Chavan Centre at Nariman Point yesterday, NCP chief Sharad Pawar criticised the Home department’s handling of the Pune blast. On the other hand, All India Congress Committee’s (AICC) state in-charge Mohan Prakash confirmed to SMD that changes in the cabinet were likely, depending on the reshuffle in the UPA cabinet.
Pawar questioned the rise in the number of blasts in Maharashtra. “We had no answers when the Prime Minister asked us this question,” said Pawar, whose direct attack is viewed as a signal to RR Patil, his most trusted lieutenant in NCP.
“I have asked Patil to focus on improving the performance of the police and intelligence departments. Incidents like blasts, not only claim innocent lives, but also change the attitude of society toward a particular community,” said Pawar, adding that the intelligence department and the police should keep a close watch on disruptive elements. “Authorities that do not show results should be shown their place.”
“A few ministries have been entrusted with more than one portfolio. For example, Law minister Virappa Moily also handles the Power portfolio. So, when the change is implemented in Delhi, changes at the state level will follow accordingly,” said Prakash.
Prakash’s statement comes after a meeting between AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi and CM Prithviraj Chavan in Delhi where the issue of reshuffle is believed to have been discussed. With only two years left for the next general elections in 2014, Gandhi, is said to be keen on effecting major changes at state level. Prakash said the party would have to fill up the four vacancies in the state cabinet. “It is likely to take place within a week or so,” he said.
According to party sources, changes may happen soon, as Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is expected to visit Solapur on August 31 to participate in a rally of nomadic tribes.