Mumbai: Eyebrows have been raised following the Shinde-Fadnavis government’s decision to retain the security cover of Congress leaders Ashok Chavan, Amit Deshmukh, Vishwajeet Kadam, Varsha Gaikwad, Yashomati Thakur and KC Padvi, while simultaneously withdrawing or scaling down the security cover of six others, as well as its decision to provide Y plus security to Shiv Sena Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray chief Uddhav Thackeray’s close confidant Milind Narvekar.
The six Congress leaders have been under the Shinde-Fadnavis duo’s radar while Narvekar, who was recently elected to the Mumbai Cricket Association, is reportedly facing a lot of opposition from within.
Narvekar, who is replaced by Ravi Mhatre as Mr Thackeray’s right hand, enjoys proximity with Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his camp.
Ashok Chavan, who is the former Chief Minister, and another former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, have been provided Y category security. Chavan was among 11 Congress legislators who were absent during the trust vote moved by the Shinde-Fadnavis government on July 4. Despite repeated denials, Chavan’s name is appearing in a section of media for his plan to join the BJP.
A fortnight ago, Gaikwad, along with former MP Milind Deora and party MLA Amin Patel, had met the Chief Minister Shinde on various issues including police housing.
Further, Vishwajeet Kadam, who is the party legislator from Sangli district and the son of former minister Patangrao Kadam, enjoys cordial relations with the Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. His name was doing the rounds of joining BJP, although he has denied it.
Incidentally, the government has withdrawn security cover of former minister and Congress Legislature Party leader Balasaheb Thorat, former ministers Nitin Raut, Sunil Kedar, Vijay Wadettiwar, Aslam Shaikh and Satej Patil.
Thorat and Patil have been at the forefront to target the Shinde-Fadnavis government, while Kedar’s strategy to win the elections of President and Vice President of Nagpur zilla parishad paid off as independents backed by BJP were defeated in the home district of union minister Nitin Gadkari, Fadnavis and state BJP chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule.
The Shinde-Fadnavis government has removed “categorised” security cover of 25 leaders of the Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress.
It means these leaders would not have permanent police security outside their houses or escort. The decision was taken after a fresh assessment of their security perception, the government notification said.
The security cover of Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar and his family including his daughter and Baramati Lok Sabha MP Supriya Sule too has been retained, but that of some other NCP leaders including Jayant Patil, Chhagan Bhujbal and jailed Anil Deshmukh has been removed. They have been home ministers in the past.
The other leaders who lost categorised security cover included Nawab Malik (NCP), Nana Patole (Congress), Bhaskar Jadhav (Shiv Sena Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), Dhanajay Munde (NCP), Narhari Zirwal (NCP) and Varun Sardesai (Shiv Sena Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), Eknath Khadse (NCP), Anil Parab and Sanjay Raut (both Shiv Sena UBT).
The NCP veteran and former minister Chhagan Bhujbal said he was not scared with the state government’s move adding that he had taken on Dawood Ibrahim and other gangsters in the past.
On the other hand, Shiv Sena Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray leader Aaditya Thackeray said although the state government takes a decision with regard to providing security and its withdrawal, the Shinde Fadnavis government should disclose its strategy to provide job security to youth in the state.