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'3 terms in power is not a mean feat'

In a chat with MiD DAY, AICC spokesman Abhishek Singhvi quelled rumours that DF is in trouble, and hailed Chavan as an honest man with great vision

Since he donned the mantle of chief minister on November 11 last year, Prithviraj Chavan has received bouquets from certain quarters for his bold decisions, and brickbats from others for his non-performance and laxity in decision-making.

Amidst all this talk, the minister, dubbed Mr Clean by his admirers, recently received an award instituted by a leading national periodical as leader of the 'State of the states'. Sharing the honour was Maharashtra's fiercest competitor, Gujarat.

All India Congress Committee spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who arrived in the city for a day-long visit yesterday, spoke with MiD DAY about Chavan and the robust health of Democratic Front government.

Assessing the performance of the alliance in its one year in power, Singhvi said that his pride stemmed from not only the fact that Chavan completed a year in office, but also because the Congress-led coalition government was in power for a third successive term. "In an era of fractured governments, it is no mean feat that we have provided a stable coalition government."

Speaking of Chavan, Singhvi said that the two shared a cordial working relationship during their days as spokespersons for the All India Congress Committee.

"While interacting with him in Delhi, I found him to be a very well-informed, straightforward, polite and honest person. His technical background stands him in good stead. I have full faith that the best is yet to come from him, as state CM," said Singhvi, who has been the AICC spokesman for the past 11 years.

Speaking of detractors' claims that Chavan is tardy in his decision-making, Singhvi said, "Such things are a part and parcel of public life. In course of the terms served by Sushilkumar Shinde, Vilasrao Deshmukh and Ashok Chavan, the Congress has learnt that it can withstand and weather temporary storms. We continue to enjoy widespread support from diverse sections of society."

"Chavan has definitely been a stabilising force. He has good intentions and is deliberating over, drafting and implementing mid-term and long-term schemes. He does not have a myopic perspective and never takes a short-term view of a situation."

Asked to comment on the recent aggressiveness evinced by NCP, the Congress' coalition partner, Singhvi said, "The two parties have been in power for years now, and three terms as the incumbent coalition is enough to prove naysayers and soothsayers wrong. We have our disagreements, but there is no problem in the relationship."

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