Congress, a junior partner in the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government, has been fuming over the lack of representation given by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in taking core government decisions. Its ministers, led by Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat, met on Thursday afternoon at the residence of Dairy Development Minister Sunil Kedar.
Some were also unhappy about the communication gap among three partners in the functioning of the government. Thorat admitted, “There are certain issues pertaining to the smooth functioning of the alliance government. Congress has made a strong case for its further engagement in decision-making. It was decided to soon take up all these issues with the CM.’’
He further informed that ministers were concerned about the insufficient representation given to them and the dominance of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) ministers led by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, as well as the CM in day-to-day decision-making. “Ministers were disappointed by the manner in which the CM had announced immediate assistance of Rs 100 crore for Raigad, Rs 75 crore for Ratnagiri and Rs 25 crore for Sindhudurg that were affected by Cyclone Nisarga. Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar had discussed today as well as a week ago about the further assistance to be given to these districts. However, Congress was missing in such crucial interactions. Both these leaders met regularly, but similar meetings rarely happen with our ministers,’’ a minister from the Vidarbha region told the Free Press Journal.
Further, another minister from Western Maharashtra said that the CM had discussed a slew of relaxation measures with Pawar before he announced it. “On NCP’s part too, Pawar had met his party’s ministers and discussed a set of relaxation measures, which were communicated to Thackeray. In this entire exercise, Congress had minimal presence. There is a consensus that it should be increased in the future for the smooth functioning of an alliance government,’’ he noted.
Ministers also wanted the CM to allot additional seats to the Congress for the Legislative Council nomination through the governor’s quota. Meanwhile, some expressed concerns over the lack of coordination between the party and its ministers. It was decided to meet every Tuesday after the cabinet meeting is over to jointly decide the strategy for the party’s growth and strengthen cooperation and coordination between the party and its ministers.