Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, the eye of an ongoing political-criminal storm, came to the position by accident and “forgot that sharp leadership springs from honesty”, an article in the Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece, Saamna, said today. It castigated the Sena-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government of the state for its confusion and inaction that led to the opposition gaining an upper hand in the recent controversies. The write-up by its Executive Editor, Sanjay Raut, who is also the party’s Rajya Sabha member, targeted Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari for allegedly aiding the Opposition’s effort in toppling the Udhhav Thackeray regime.
Under the stinging editorial column titled “Doubting Maharashtra’s Character…The botched ‘Damage Control'”, Mr Raut wrote that an atmosphere was being created for Mr Deshmukh to step down from his ministerial post and destabilise the MVA government.
“The Maharashtra government’s character has been questioned many times due to what happened in the past few months…No one from the government initially came forward to face those charges…Once again, it appeared that the government had no plans for ‘damage control’,” he wrote, referring to the political fallout of the discovery of an explosive-laden car in the same Mumbai locality where industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s residence is situated.
Following his removal as city police chief in the wake of the probe that subsequently led to a Mumbai cop’s arrest, IPS officer Param Bir Singh alleged that the state Home Minister, Mr Deshmukh, had asked the force to collect Rs 100 crore every month as extortion. The opposition has now demanded the senior NCP leader’s resignation.
“Deshmukh got the Home Minister’s post by accident. Jayant Patil and Dilip Valse-Patil had refused it. It is only then that Sharad Pawar handed over this post to Deshmukh. This post has dignity and status,” the article said. “No individual can function as Maharashtra Home Minister remaining close to dubious characters…If a junior officer like Sachin Waze was running a (money) collection racket from the Mumbai police commissioner’s office, why was the Home Minister not aware of it?”
The article also accused Governor Koshiyari of awaiting the government’s fall to avoid confirming 12 members nominated to the House. “Several leaders of the BJP have been meeting the Governor demanding the government’s dismissal, it is tarnishing the reputation of the Raj Bhavan,” read the editorial.
Responding to the article, the BJP called it a “drama”. “I’d like to remind Sanjay Raut that Sachin Waze was reinstated by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray,” the party’s Maharashtra Vice-President, Kirit Somaiya, said in a video message.