Asian Age Correspondent
New Delhi, 5 June 2012. Trinamul Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee and NCP chief Sharad Pawar came under attack at the Congress Working Committee meeting with leaders from West Bengal and Maharashtra resenting the “one-upmanship” of the two leaders. Even Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai too was criticised.
The attack on Ms Banerjee and Mr Pawar is significant as it came ahead of the presidential and vice-presidential elections.
According to sources, Maharashtra PCC president Manikrao Thakre virtually pleaded for going alone in the state. He said Mr Pawar is taking credit of Centre’s announcements before it was made officially and thereby suggested the Congress cannot take any credit. He suggested if the Congress contests alone in the next Assembly polls in the state, it will get more seats than it secures in alliance with the NCP.
Mr Thakre praised chief minister Prithviraj Chavan who was present in the meeting. Mr Chavan is also not on the best of terms with the NCP chief.
Mr Thakre complained that Mr Pawar, being part of the Central government, utilises his position to appropriate credit for the NCP for all the good things done by the Centre.
West Bengal PCC chief Pradip Bhattacharya was agitated because state chief minister Mamata Banerjee does not count the Congress despite the party being part of the government.
He was also critical of her for “behaving like an Opposition leader” at the Centre despite her party being a key constituent of the Congress-led UPA government. The CLP leader in West Bengal too criticised Ms Banerjee, they said.
Party spokesperson Manish Tewari wanted the Congress to be ready to change the political landscape of the country “if your allies oppose you”.
Some members were critical of the CAG’s current role saying that it is crossing limits. If this (national loss) continues, then the party will have to pay a price in the Lok Sabha elections, they predicted.
Mr Tewari, who was the last speaker at the meeting, is learnt to have said that the government needs to be seen as one that is functioning. Urging the government to bring the big ticket reforms, he said that if allies are opposing then “be prepared to change the political landscape”.
Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna is learnt to have said that there is an impression that the government at the Centre is weak, sources said. Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda wanted farmers’ interests to be protected at any cost.
Recalling the adage that charity should begin at home, Mr Hooda told Mrs Gandhi that he was ready to take up any work assigned by her.