Times of India | 5 days ago | 07-08-2022 | 02:53 am
MUMBAI: Chief minister Eknath Shinde is at the receiving end for granting quasi-judicial powers to bureaucrats. Leader of opposition Ajit Pawar, Congress legislature party leader Balasaheb Thorat and Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe strongly criticised the CM, saying his decision is anti-democratic. "We are facing this situation as Eknath Shinde failed to expand his cabinet more than a month after he was sworn-in as the CM. Instead of bureaucrats, I feel all powers should be entrusted to the chief secretary. We are in a democratic setup. Legislators have no powers and there are no cabinet members either. Under such circumstances, bureaucrats have become more powerful than elected representatives," leader of opposition Ajit Pawar said. The general administration department led by chief secretary Manukumar Srivastava had on Friday promulgated a brief order to provide for granting of quasi-judicial powers to bureaucrats. Reports said the powers have been entrusted to bureaucrats so that the common man does not suffer. Routine appeals against the orders passed by regional level officials cannot be disposed by bureaucrats. Congress legislature party leader Balasaheb Thorat said, "He must expand the cabinet immediately so that there will be no need to entrust the powers to bureaucrats. We will not be surprised if Shinde changes the name of Mantralaya to Sachivalaya - secretariat." Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe said a progressive state like Maharashtra should not be run by the secretaries. "It is the state's misfortune that even after 36 days since Shinde was sworn-in as CM, he has not been able to set up the cabinet," he said. A statement issued by the CMO stated no powers of the cabinet members have been given to the bureaucrats and they will deal only with quasi-judicial matters.
Shiv Sena’s unilateral decision to appoint Ambadas Danve as the leader of Opposition of the state Legislative Council has created fissures within the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance. So much so that a delegation of NCP, led by Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, Ajit Pawar, met Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday night to advise him to consult allies before taking any such major decision.Congress has openly expressed its displeasure over the action of the Sena leadership, with party state president Nana Patole saying on Thursday that the alliance with the Sena was never “natural” and “permanent”.“The post of Leader of Opposition in state Assembly is with the NCP and deputy chairperson’s post is with Shiv Sena. We were of the opinion that the leader of Opposition post in the Legislative Council should be given to Congress. But Shiv Sena did not even consult us and went ahead without taking us into confidence. We oppose this,” Patole told mediapersons in Aurangabad.“The alliance with the Sena was never natural and it was done because Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar met our leader Sonia Gandhi,” he added.“Maha Vikas Aghadi is a not permanent one. If Congress is not taken into confidence during the decision-making process, then we will also have to think over it,” Patole said.On Wednesday night, the NCP delegation met Thackeray at the latter’s residence Matoshree in Mumbai. “We hadn’t met him (Thackeray) after he stepped down from the CM’s post. Many issues, including some political ones, were discussed,” NCP state president Jayant Patil told mediapersons.Asked about Congress’ position about Danve’s selection as leader of Opposition, Patil said the MVA stands united and a meeting will be held with Patole once he returns to Mumbai.According to sources, Congress and NCP are wary about more defections from the Sena and especially, from the state Council. As per the number strength in the Legislative Council, Opposition Sena has 12 members while NCP and Congress have 10 each.“Though Uddhav Thackeray has announced that he will resign from the Council, his resignation is yet to be submitted. It ensures that Sena remains the biggest Opposition party in the Council,” a source said. However, three Sena MLCs have reportedly shifted their allegiance to the Shinde camp and are likely to join the faction soon, sources added.“In that case, the Congress will get the leader of Opposition’s post. We wanted to discuss all of this and then decide on the name. But Sena went ahead without taking us into confidence,” said a Congress leader.On August 8, Thackeray had sent a letter addressed to the chairman of the Legislative Council, recommending Danve’s name as the leader of Opposition. Since the post is vacant, it was accepted by Deputy Chairperson Neelam Gorhe – a Sena leader and Thackeray loyalist. The next day, Danve’s appointment was confirmed.Incidentally, Congress Legislative Party leader Balasaheb Thorat had written to the chairman of the Legislative Council on August 3 staking claim on the post.The Thackeray-led Shiv Sena, however, tried to downplay Patole’s statement. “We don’t take Nana Patole’s statement seriously but it is unfortunate that he made such a critical juncture,” Sena MP Vinayak Raut told The Indian Express.“Congress should understand that whoever has more numbers, gets the opportunity to have its MLC as the leader of Opposition in the Council. The Shiv Sena has the highest number of MLCs and therefore, it was natural that our MLC would become the leader of Opposition,” he added.Raut said the statement by the Congress chief has come at a wrong time. “At a time when we are going through a difficult phase, we expect our allies to extend support to us and not speak at cross purposes,” he added.Another Sena leader said, “When Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena is struggling to stay afloat, the Maharashtra Congress has rubbed salt into its wound… the Congress is trying to weaken it further. This was not expected especially when the BJP has made all out efforts to force Uddhav Thackeray to dump the MVA, which he has refused.”Asked whether the Congress was trying to break the MVA, Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe said, “We are merely objecting to the denial of post to the Congress. The NCP holds the Opposition leader’s post in the Assembly. The Shiv Sena holds the deputy leader’s post in the Council. Therefore, the Congress should have been given one post, as we were equal partners in MVA.”Meanwhile, reacting to Patole’s statement, Deepak Kesarkar, spokesperson for Shiv Sena faction led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, said: “This exactly is what we have been saying. Shiv Sena’s alliance with Congress and NCP was not natural. We hope Patole’s statement will help reunite the two groups.”(With inputs from ENS)
With Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil having been inducted into the Eknath Shinde cabinet now, decks have been cleared for the BJP to appoint a new chief for the state.Keeping its focus on the 2024 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, the BJP leadership is looking to replace Patil, a Maratha leader, with an OBC leader, at the helm of the crucial party unit. Chief Minister and rebel Sena faction leader Shinde belongs to the dominant Maratha community, while senior BJP leader and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis is a Brahmin. So by picking an OBC (Other Backward Classes) leader as the state BJP chief, the party leadership hopes to strike a caste balance in its state dispensation.OBCs account for a substantial chunk of voters in Maharashtra. The OBC population in the state as per the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission is 38-40 per cent as compared to the Maratha community’s 33 per cent.The BJP has always sought to build up its OBC vote bank, given the fact that the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) traditionally have had strong leadership and support bases among Marathas in the state.Over the last several years the BJP has made inroads in the Maratha community, especially in the Marathwada region. It emerged as the largest party in the 2019 Assembly polls, winning 106 of the total 288 seats. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the party won 23 of the total 48 seats in the state.Early last year, during the tenure of the then Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government led by Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, the Supreme Court had scrapped the 27% OBC reservation in state local bodies for not fulfilling its “triple test” criteria. A political row had been raging in the state since then, with the BJP as the then principal Opposition keeping the heat on the MVA government over the issue.Days after the Shinde-BJP government took charge following the collapse of the MVA government, the Banthia Commission – a dedicated panel set up by the state government in March 2022 for collating empirical data on state OBCs — submitted its report to the government, recommending 27 per cent OBC reservation in local bodies. On July 20, the apex court accepted the Banthia panel report and allowed 27 per cent OBC quota in the local bodies polls. With the protracted stalemate now resolved, the BJP is set to capitalise on the issue in various coming elections, including the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.In July 2019, the then Maharashtra BJP president Raosaheb Danve, who won from the Jalna constituency, was inducted into the Narendra Modi ministry at the Centre, following which Patil was appointed in his place to complete his remaining term until early 2020. Patil was then a minister in the CM Fadnavis-led BJP-Sena coalition government.In view of the October 2019 Assembly polls, the BJP had allowed Patil to continue in both his positions by waiving the “one leader, one post” rule. In February 2020, Patil’s name as the state BJP chief was formally ratified at a party meet and he got a three-year tenure.As both Danve and Patil belong to the Maratha community, the BJP believes it is time to hand over the state party leadership to an OBC leader. The names of leaders like Chandrashekhar Bawankule and Ram Shinde are doing the rounds in party circles in this regard.Bawankule, who hails from the Vidarbha region, was the energy minister in the Fadnavis government. He belongs to the Teli community (OBC).In the 2019 Assembly polls, Bawankule was denied BJP ticket, which reportedly damaged the party’s prospects in several seats in Vidarbha inhabited predominantly by Teli and Kunbhi communities. The party later rehabilitated Bawankule by making him a member of the state Legislative Council (MLC) and general secretary in the state unit.The second front-runner for the state BJP president’s post is Ram Shinde, who was also a minister in the Fadnavis government. Shinde, who belongs to the Dhangar community (OBC), is from Ahmednagar district in western Maharashtra. In the 2019 Assembly polls, he contested from Karjat-Jamkhed but lost to the NCP candidate. Later, the BJP nominated him as an MLC. He has also been made the party in-charge of the Baramati constituency, NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s home turf.BJP insiders said, “The party has always maintained one leader, one post principle,” adding that Patil will have to leave his party position now.With the Shinde-BJP government in place, the saffron party is now gearing up to restructure its organisation and prepare it for the 2024 electoral battles. It might also propose holding the state Assembly polls along with the Lok Sabha elections in April-May 2024.
Nitish Kumar was a BJP ally before snapping ties in 2013. He again joined hands in 2017.(FILE)Mumbai (Maharashtra): Maharashtra minister Deepak Kesarkar on Thursday said that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar might "reconsider" his decision to part ways with the BJP if he felt he had picked a "wrong party"."It's just a phase. I don't mean to criticise him (CM Nitish Kumar). He is a senior politician who has served the state well as the CM. But he may reconsider his decision if he feels that he has picked the wrong party. That's not unprecedented," Deepak Kesarkar said while commenting on the recent political developments in Bihar.There has been speculation that Nitish Kumar is gearing up for a larger role at the national level. However, the Bihar Chief Minister rejected any such speculation after being sworn in."Those who came to power in 2014, will they be victorious in 2024? I would like all (opposition) to be united for 2024. I am not a contender for any such post (PM post)," he said.Kumar was sworn in as Bihar Chief Minister again yesterday after parting ways with the BJP and joining the RJD-led Grand Alliance to form a new government in the state. Kumar ditched the BJP alleging that it was trying to break his JD(U), and joined hands with former political opponents RJD in the Mahagathbandhan on Tuesday.The BJP alleged that by joining with the RJD, Nitish Kumar had disrespected the mandate given by the people. Meanwhile, soon after the swearing-in ceremony, Kumar said that his party made the decision to leave the BJP through internal consensus.He sought cooperation from interim Congress chief Sonia Gandhi for change in Bihar. Sonia Gandhi asked him to contact Rahul Gandhi as well.However, Mr Kumar gave the responsibility to contact Congress leader Rahul Congress to Tejashwi Yadav. Tejashwi immediately contacted Rahul Gandhi.Notably, Rahul Gandhi agreed to be in touch with the party in-charge of the state Bhakta Charan Das.After this talks took place and the script for the change was ready.Nitish Kumar wanted such a majority so that the BJP could not topple the government by making a dent in it, so remained silent till the figure reached 164 through the Left and Congress and the bet was played as soon as he got the chance.Meanwhile, BJP leader and former Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi suggested that the fallout between his party and Nitish Kumar could be linked to the Bihar chief minister's desire to become the country's vice president.Mr Kumar was a long-time BJP ally before snapping ties in 2013. He later again joined hands in 2017. Mr Kumar said that there was a unanimous decision in the party meeting in the morning "to break off ties".JD-U and BJP had fought the 2020 assembly polls together and Nitish Kumar was made the chief minister of the alliance though the BJP had won more seats. Nitish Kumar's ties with BJP stretched to over two decades and he was a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1996.JD-U leaders indicated that factors including the developments related to the exit of RCP Singh from the party had soured ties with BJP. JD-U leaders have also been chafing at the role of Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) leader Chirag Paswan during the 2020 assembly polls and have indicated that his putting up candidates from seats contested by the party had damaged it.JD-U and RJD had fought the 2015 Bihar polls together. JD-U has 45 and the RJD has 79 MLAs in the 243-member Bihar assembly.JD-U is the third major ally to leave the BJP in the past three years after Shiv Sena in Maharashtra and Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
MUMBAI: In a fresh setback for the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena, the state legislature secretariat has not invited it for Thursday's meeting of the business advisory committee to draft the schedule of the monsoon session of the state legislature that begins on August 17. A senior legislature secretariat official told TOI that for the secretariat, the Shiv Sena led by chief minister Eknath Shinde is the real Shiv Sena. "For the legislature secretariat, the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena is the real Shiv Sena, so there was no question of inviting a nominee of the Shiv Sena faction led by Uddhav Thackeray," he said. Assembly speaker Rahul Narwekar will preside over the meeting, which will be attended by Shinde, deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, the Shinde group's Dadaji Bhuse and Uday Samant, the NCP's Ajit Pawar and Jayant Patil, the Congress's Balasaheb Thorat and Ashok Chavan and Sudhir Mungantiwar, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and Chandrakant Patil of the BJP. Deputy speaker of the assembly Narhari Zirwal, BJP's Ashish Shelar, NCP's Chhagan Bhujbal and Congress's Amin Patel will be special invitees. Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray group) legislature party leader Ajay Choudhary has given a letter to the speaker expressing surprise over the failure to invite its nominees for the BAC meeting. "Not inviting the Shiv Sena is wrong, particularly when all key issues are pending before the Supreme Court," a senior Sena leader said. The Maha Vikas Aghadi government comprising the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress was brought down and was replaced by a government of the Shiv Sena breakaway faction led by Eknath Shinde and the BJP.
Mumbai: Bihar BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi's remarks that the BJP had engineered a split in the Shiv Sena has caught the Maharashtra BJP and the Eknath Shinde camp on the wrong foot. The Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party seized the remark to say that it has now been proven that BJP was behind Shinde's rebellion that brought the Maha Vikas Aghadi government down.Talking about Janata Dal United leader Nitish Kumar, Modi said JDU would suffer the consequences of betraying BJP. "BJP has never stabbed any of its allies. We have broken only those who have betrayed us, such as the Shiv Sena, with whom we had an understanding. When they betrayed us, they had to suffer the consequences," Modi said.The Thackeray faction seized on Modi's remark to say BJP's 'lie' had been 'exposed.' "This was not an uprising as the rebel MLAs claimed. We have said this was engineered by BJP. It is BJP's policy to have an alliance and then destroy parties. What Sushil Modi, a senior BJP leader, has said has exposed BJP's lies," alleged Shiv Sena leader Ambadas Danve.Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar said that the BJP had a 'policy of finishing off' regional allies in states. "BJP wants to be the only party remaining in the country. The Akali Dal was a big party in Punjab; it is now on the verge of elimination. In Maharashtra, the BJP and Shiv Sena were together for several years. BJP engineered a split with the help of Eknath Shinde to weaken its old ally. This is the issue raised by Nitish Kumar in Bihar as well," Pawar said.The Maharashtra unit of BJP, however, claimed that the party had always stood by its allies. "BJP has never backstabbed any friends; it was the Shiv Sena that betrayed us," deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis said.MORE STORIES FOR YOU✕BJP not behind Eknath Shinde's rebellion against Shiv Sena leadership: Maha leaderNitish Kumar switches sides again; another state witnesses a midterm change of govtThere is something else that hurts Sharad Pawar more, says Devendra Fadnavis« Back to recommendation storiesI don't want to see these stories becauseThey are not relevant to meThey disrupt the reading flowOthersSUBMIT