Sharad Pawar steps in to defuse Shiv Sena-NCP tension

Updated: Jul 07, 2020, 07:51 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

NCP chief, Anil Deshmukh visit CM to fix fissures after poaching of Sena leaders, DCP transfers

Sharad Pawar with CM Uddhav Thackeray. File pic
Sharad Pawar with CM Uddhav Thackeray. File pic

The architect of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, Sharad Pawar, has taken the lead to defuse the ever-growing tensions between his Nationalist Congress Party and Shiv Sena. Pawar led a group of NCP ministers to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's Kalanagar residence on Monday evening to thrash out differences and enhance coordination between the two principal parties to stabilise the government amid the pandemic.

Among other issues that have been a cause for concern, the two parties have split opinions over the unlocking of the lockdown, administrative and police reshuffles and poaching of elected representatives.

Pawar's intervention is seen as an effort to soothe the CM who is offended by NCP's move, particularly the Mumbai DCPs' transfers that he scrapped on Sunday because he wasn't consulted. The NCP had also made the CM relax restrictions on movement beyond a 2-km periphery in Mumbai and recorded a dissent over enforcing a lockdown-like protocol in Thane and other MMR cities. The party had also stalled the transfer of Navi Mumbai's municipal commissioner who was replaced by a young IAS officer in the latest reshuffle in which four doctor-turned-bureaucrats were asked to head municipal corporations in MMR where COVID-19 cases have increased manifold.

The Sena got a further shock when five of its councillors from Parner Municipal Council (Ahmednagar district) were inducted in the NCP by deputy CM Ajit Pawar two days ago.

The NCP has justified the move saying that the leaders would have joined the BJP if they were not welcomed in its fold. Following the switch, an angry CM Thackeray is learnt to have asked the DCM to send his elected representatives back to the Sena camp. Sources said Ajit Pawar was also likely to meet Thackeray to discuss the matter that was further complicated by some NCP leaders who demanded that the Sena should reciprocate by relieving 11 Thane ZP members who were originally from the NCP.

Sources said Pawar and the CM along with home minister Anil Deshmukh (NCP) and senior Sena leaders discussed all the issues on Monday. Generally, the CM meets Pawar at Shivaji Park's Balasaheb Thackeray Memorial (formerly Mayor's Bungalow), but this time, the veteran had to go to Matoshree. Following the meeting, Sena leaders from Thane also visited Thackeray's residence.

Earlier in the day, opposition leader and ex-CM Devendra Fadnavis said the NCP had tricked the CM in transferring the DCPs.

"Under the process, the CM must be consulted and his approval must be taken before making big decisions like transfers. The CM must have cancelled the transfers only because his authority was not honoured," he said.

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