Act or we will go solo, NCP tells CM
Delegation led by Sharad Pawar asks Chavan to act on issues that the NCP has been pushing for, or prepare for end of the 15-year-old alliance
The NCP, a Congress ally for the last 15 years, seems ready to end the alliance. An NCP delegation consisting of the top brass, including party supremo Sharad Pawar, met Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan late on Sunday night and said that if he doesn’t act on the issues close to the party, they would have no option but to end the alliance.
According to a senior NCP leader, the delegation comprised Sharad Pawar, Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, state Excise Minister Ganesh Naik, state unit chief Bhaskar Jadhav and Minister of State Sachin Ahir.
The issues put forth by the NCP are: Immediate decision on reservation to the Maratha community in government jobs and education; scrapping the local body tax; and making the report of the Chitale Commission on the irrigation scam public. NCP sources said the ultimatum is a fallout of the party’s miserable defeat in the Lok Sabha elections.
The issue of the Chitale Commission report, feel NCP members, was deliberately kept pending by CM Chavan as it was affecting party ministers Ajit Pawar and Sunil Tatkare the most. The CM reportedly told the NCP delegation that clarity was needed on some issues taken up by the panel.
Party sources said the delegation pushed for an early decision on the local body tax as the NCP believes it was one of the key reasons for the LS defeat. The reservation for the Maratha community, they said, has been pending for a long time and the voters are angry. Ganesh Naik pushed for speedy redevelopment of dilapidated buildings in Navi Mumbai and clarity on the policy about illegal buildings in the satellite township.
The CM, said sources, sought some time to address the issues. At the Vidhan Bhavan yesterday, Ajit Pawar told a few people that his personal opinion was that the NCP should fight the upcoming assembly polls alone. Sources told mid-day that similar opinions were being expressed in the Congress camp too.