The ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance leaders of Maharashtra will meet today to decide the fate of NCP’s Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, accused of taking bribes by former top cop Param Bir Singh. Going by media reports, the opinion is split. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray of Shiv Sena wants Deshmukh gone, and the Congress remains ambivalent, but NCP leaders made it clear yesterday that the minister will not resign.
After a three-hour meeting at NCP president Sharad Pawar’s residence, Jayant Patil, the party’s state chief, said there is no need to divert attention from the main incident of bomb scare outside Mukesh Ambani’s residence. “The question of Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh resigning does not arise,” Patil told reporters.
In the eight-page letter to Thackeray, Param Bir Singh had alleged that Deshmukh used to call police officers to his official residence and give them a “collection target” from bars, restaurants and other establishments.
The Maharashtra chief minister’s office, in a release on Saturday, said Singh’s “unsigned letter to Thackeray” was not sent from his official email ID and efforts were on to contact him to verify it.
How have the different alliance partners (NCP, Congress and the Sena) reacted to the situation?
Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath on Sunday met NCP chief Sharad Pawar in New Delhi in view of ongoing developments in Maharashtra. The Congress high command deputed Nath to meet Pawar to defuse the political crisis in Maharashtra. The Congress on Sunday had said it would not be fair on its part to comment on the controversy. Steering clear of making a direct comment on the matter, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the issue concerns Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and the NCP as the minister in question is from that party.
Singhvi raised the issue of graft charges against Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa to accuse the BJP of hypocrisy and questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence on the mater. He asked why the prime minister and Home Minister Amit Shah have not uttered a word about the corruption allegation against Yediyurappa, even when there have been three judgments from the high court in this regard. “We want Yediyurappa to resign immediately,” the Congress spokesperson said.
On the developments in Maharashtra, he said the Maha Vikas Aghadi government is one and NCP leader Sharad Pawar is addressing charges against Deshmukh.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut met NCP supremo Sharad Pawar in Delhi on Sunday evening. Raut told reporters in Mumbai that allegations of Singh against Deshmukh and the Sachin Vaze episode have dented the image of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state. Raut said all allies, the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, need to introspect if their “feet are on the ground”.
NCP president Sharad Pawar on Sunday said Thackeray will decide the fate of Deshmukh, who is facing corruption allegations by former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh. Pawar’s comments came during a media briefing at Delhi amid speculation in state political circles that Maharashtra may soon have a new home minister.
The allegations leveled by Singh against Deshmukh are serious and require an in-depth probe, Pawar said. “We will take a decision on Deshmukh by Monday,” Pawar said. Deshmukh’s side also needs to be heard before taking any decision, he added.