‘Fickle’ NCP chief keeps heavyweight guessing

Written By Unknown on Senin, 30 Juni 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: A year ago, when Maratha strongman Sharad Pawar saw the visuals of the lavish wedding reception of NCP leader Bhaskar Jadhav's son and daughter on TV channels, he said was unable to sleep. Pawar had said that at a juncture when the state was reeling under a drought, it was wrong to spend money and that such a person had no right to be in public life.

Jadhav, who was the minister of state for urban development then, was given marching orders. Later, the I-T department launched a probe into the expenditure. It was believed that it seemed to be the end of the road for Jadhav and he would join the Shiv Sena. Jadhav had defended the expenditure on the marriage that was attended by the entire cabinet. A few months later, Jadhav was made state NCP chief in the place of veteran leader Madhukar Pichad, who was inducted into the cabinet as a tribal welfare minister.

Under Jadhav's leadership, the NCP suffered a drubbing in the general elections and won only four seats out of the 22 it contested. There was a debate over Jadhav's leadership qualities after high-profile NCP leaders Chhagan Bhujbal, Sunil Tatkare and Praful Patel lost the polls by a huge margin.

While some politicians blamed Jadhav for the defeat, senior leaders felt that he along with Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar were responsible for the debacle. Finally, Pawar sacked Jadhav as the state party boss but accommodated him immediately in the state cabinet. It seems Pawar is the most unpredictable politician.

Antony's defence

Ministers Narayan Rane, Patangrao Kadam, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil and Balasaheb Thorat were left red-faced after Congress general secretary A K Antony asked them why the party nominees lost in their constituencies.

Antony is heading a four-member committee set up by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to look into the party's debacle in the Lok Sabha election.

Significantly, Rane, Kadam, Vikhe-Patil and Thorat are contenders for the CM's post. Rane's son, Neelesh, lost of Sena nominee Vinayak Raut in the Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg Lok Sabha constituency by a huge margin, Kadam's son, Vishwajeet, who heads the state Youth Congress, was trounced by BJP's Anil Shirole in Pune.

In Ahmednagar, the home district of Vikhe-Patil and Thorat, the Congress nominee was badly mauled. Rane, Kadam, Vikhe-Patil and Thorat were confident of the victory of party nominees.

A day after the results were declared, Rane submitted his resignation to the CM on moral grounds but blamed the NCP for his son's defeat. Kadam, Vikhe Patil and Thorat were tight-lipped on the reasons for the party nominees' debacle.

Antony's contention was that if a CM contender was unable to ensure victory of the nominee on "their turf", then could the politician lead in the ensuing assembly election. It was not only about those politicians, who are in race for CM's post, in most of the constituencies, it was identical situation, since the Modi wave swept the polls. If a former Congress MP is to be believed, then most of the Congress leaders were speechless on basic questions raised by Antony.

Graft buster

In a first, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director-general Pravin Dixit has analyzed every case registered by them under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Significantly, his report on department-wise analysis and the bribe details has been uploaded put on the ACB's website.

Dixit analyzed the data of 36 departments and found that even for a minor task, a bribe of Rs 3 lakh is sought. In the civic body, one does not get an NOC without paying off clerical staff, even for an early hearing before the minister of state for revenue one has to shell out a bribe. There was scope for graft in deletion or addition of names in the ration card. The bribe amount was small, but alterations were not made without greasing the staffer's palms. From Dixit's investigation, it has been established beyond doubt that without coughing up money even routine work was not possible for a common man. According to the graft investigator, in the departments of home, revenue, public health, public works, law and judiciary, finance, urban development, energy, transport or education, kickbacks were the norm. Dixit has done his job, if bureaucrats study the report and amend the existing procedure for obtaining routine certificates it will be a huge relief for the aam aadmi.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/followceleb.cms?alias=Sharad Pawar,NCP,Maharashtra,Congress,Bhaskar Jadhav

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