State minister raises questions over CM-led Home department

Speaking at a police training school in Sangli district, Public Works and Cooperation Minister Chandrakant Patil from the BJP reportedly said the law and order situation in Maharashtra was alarming and there was no fear of cops among criminals

If allegations of scams involving ministers and the controversy related to his travel to the US weren’t enough, a senior minister in his cabinet has now landed Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in an embarrassing situation.

Public Works and Cooperation Minister Chandrakant Patil is a Member of Legislative Council (MLC) from the Pune-Kolhapur graduates constituency
Public Works and Cooperation Minister Chandrakant Patil is a Member of Legislative Council (MLC) from the Pune-Kolhapur graduates constituency

Speaking at a police function in Sangli yesterday, Public Works And Cooperation Minister Chandrakant Patil raised serious questions over the functioning of the Home department, which is headed by Fadnavis.

Reports reaching Mumbai quoted Patil while speaking to trainees of a police training school in Turachi in Sangli district saying that the law and order situation in the state was alarming and the police did not arouse any fear among criminals.

“Crime has increased. The prisoners are breaking jails. Why do such incidents happen?” Patil is reported to have said, after laying the foundation stone for building an auditorium in the police training school.

Patil’s public statements have surprised political circles because the minister sounded more like an opposition leader than a sitting minister in the BJP-led state government.

Patil, who is considered very close to the BJP’s national president Amit Shah, has assumed great significance in matters of governance and party organisation ever since he was asked to mediate between the BJP and Shiv Sena before and after last year’s state Assembly elections.

A low-profile member of the Upper House, he is now a stronger voice in the state BJP. When contacted, Patil’s spokesperson, who spoke to mid-day from Kolhapur, said that the minister did not mean what was being reported.

“The minister is being quoted out of context. What he asked the police trainees to do was to become people-friendly and use modern techniques to increase conviction rate in the state,” he said.

The spokesperson added that Patil also advised the police to not use force unless necessary. He said that the minister was busy with official work, and, hence, could not speak to mid-day.

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