Political equations in Maharashtra appear to be changing with RPI leader Ramdas Athawale moving closer to the Shiv Sena-BJP combine, while the NCP is feeling uncomfortable following dissolution of the board of directors of the Maharashtra state co-operative bank.
Dalits, Muslims and Marathas used to be the Congress’ core constituency and has been its winning combination. But Mararthas got split into the Congress and the Sharad Pawar-led party since 1999 and now Mr
Athawale, the former MP and president of the once fiery organisation — the Dalit Panther — is getting closer to the Shiv Sena-BJP combine after the Congress leaders worked for his defeat in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
But he is not the first leader distancing from the Congress. Earlier, Mr Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of B.R. Ambedkar and Namdeo Dhasal, once fiery leader of the Dalit Panther and the Marathi writer, too moved closer to the Sena-BJP. A dent in the Congress-dalit (neo Buddhists) support-base is not a good development for the party running coalition governments with the NCP since 1999. While the OBCs in Maharashtra have already been shifted to the saffron combine, Mr Sharad Pawar has deliberately projected OBCs in his party and accommodated in the state government.
A division in the dalit-Maratha support-base could change political scenario in the state as the Congress cannot regain lost grounds only on the support of minorities.
The dissolution of the board of directors of the state cooperative bank by the RBI has not gone down well in the NCP with deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar alleging that it was “politically motivated” at the instance of the Congress.
Even the NCP chief and Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar was unhappy by the RBI’s decision.
“The state council of ministers act as guarantors to the bank. The RBI should have taken the ministers into confidence before taking such a decision. The loan recovery for the last year has been normal. There is no corruption in the bank; the decision has been taken on the basis of complaints,” Mr Pawar said.
The state cooperative bank and the Maharashtra state cooperative sugar factories federation have been the strongholds of the NCP. Asian Age