Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik on Sunday defended his colleague Anil Deshmukh after Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut called him "an accidental home minister".
"Anil Deshmukh is not an accidental home minister. If shortcomings have been brought forward in an editorial (Saamana), then they should be taken in a positive manner. I think the home minister will work towards overcoming those shortcomings," news agency ANI quoted Malik as saying.
Nawab Malik's remarks came after Raut on Sunday called Anil Deshmukh an accidental home minister, claiming he got the post after senior NCP leaders like Jayant Patil and Dilip Walse-Patil refused the responsibility.
In his weekly column 'Rokhthok' in Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana, Raut also said the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government in Maharashtra did not have damage control machinery as was seen after former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh claimed that Deshmukh asked cops to collect Rs 100 crore a month.
"Deshmukh got the home minister's post by accident. Jayant Patil and Dilip Walse-Patil refused to take responsibility. That is why Sharad Pawar selected Anil Deshmukh for the post," Raut wrote in his weekly column.
Perhaps mindful of the fact that his remarks about a senior minister of the ruling alliance partner may be viewed in poor light, Raut later tweeted, "Bura na mano Holi hai.." In his column, Raut said, "If a junior officer like Sachin Vaze was running a (money) collection racket from the Mumbai police commissioner's office, why was the home minister not aware of it?"
"Vaze was a mere API in Mumbai police. Who gave him so much powers? Whose favourite was he? All this should come out," Raut wrote.
"Deshmukh unnecessarily rubbed some police officials the wrong way. A home minister cannot function properly if he gets surrounded by suspicious officers," he said.
Raut said a home minister should always speak less.
Facing the cameras frequently and ordering inquiries is not his job, the Sena MP added.
"The (home minister's) job is not only for accepting salutes but for giving a strong leadership. How can one forget that strong leadership requires honesty," Raut wrote.
The MVA government had no damage control machinery when Singh dropped his letter bomb, Raut said. "No major leader came forward to defend the image of the government, which led people to believe in Singh's allegations," he added.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Sunday said no one should play spoilsport in a coalition government. The allotment of cabinet berths is the prerogative of head of every ruling party in a coalition, Pawar, who is also an NCP leader, told reporters in Baramati town of Pune.
"The allotment of cabinet berths is the prerogative of head of every political party (in the coalition). No one should play spoilsport when the three-party government is functioning properly," the deputy chief minister said. He further said Sharad Pawar, being head of the NCP, takes all decisions including allotment of cabinet berths to the party leaders.
A similar method is being followed by the Congress and Shiv Sena, Ajit Pawar said. "It should be respected instead of making any unwarranted comments," he said
(With PTI inputs)