Maha HM Anil Deshmukh
Maha HM Anil Deshmukh
ANI photo

Mumbai: After two months of smooth sailing, differences are cropping up between the members of the Maha Vikas Aaghadi (MVA) government.

The issues of Bhima-Koregaon and the National Register of Citizens are the grounds for these differences. Though the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress were strongly against handing over of the Bhima-Koregaon probe to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray prevailed upon them and forced Home Minister Anil Deshmukh to reverse the earlier stand of the Maharashtra government.

Shortly after the new MVA government was sworn in, NCP President Sharad Pawar had blamed police officers for shoddy investigation in the Bhima-Koregaon case and the arrest of activists on false charges. He had then demanded a fresh investigation into the incident.

When the state was gearing up to set up a special investigative team for this purpose, the Central government stumped the MVA government, by announcing an NIA probe in the matter.

The state government had taken a strong objection to this, as it had not been consulted on the issue. It was opposed to cooperating with the NIA and had refused to hand over the documents related to the case. Home Minister Deshmkuh had even announced that the state had sought the opinion of the advocate general in this matter. It was clear that the state was not going to allow the NIA to probe the case.

Deshmukh met CM Thackeray at his residence Matoshree on Thursday and reportedly discussed the issues of the Bhima-Koregaon probe and the resolution on the NRC.

After the meeting, Deshmukh announced, "Though I was opposed to the NIA probe, the CM overruled me." This was an attempt by Deshmukh to wash his hands of the controversy and deflect the blame to Thackeray.

Uddhav Thackeray does not want to dilute his image as a Hindutva leader. In the last few months, he has repeatedly made it clear, he has not abandoned Hindutva.

In the Bhima-Koregaon issue, Manohar Bhide and Milind Ekbote, extreme right-wingers, are on the radar of the Congress and the NCP as they are the prime accused in this case. But the Fadnavis government did not arrest them.

Even on the CAA/NRC issue, the Congress and the NCP are keen on an anti-CAA resolution but Thackeray is opposed to it. Not only this, he also arranged for the Mumbai police commissioner to deliver a speech explaining the benefits of NRC to Shiv Sena legislators.

It is because of Thackeray's opposition that Deshmukh had turned down the demand of agitating women at the Mumbai Bagh to bring in such a resolution in the legislature.

Last week, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had criticised the Centre's decision, saying the Union government was well within its rights to launch a probe, but it should have taken the state government into confidence before handing over the investigation to the NIA.

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Free Press Journal