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Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Maharashtra leaders wary of inviting Anna Hazare’s ire

While the Congress and NCP central leaderships are amply clear about not entertaining Anna Hazare’s tantrums, state ministers are going an extra mile to mend fences with the social reformer. Lest he should unleash his anti-corruption campaigns against them.

In fact, a senior (NCP) minister on the condition on anonymity told DNA, “It’s easy to dismiss Hazare when you have nothing to lose. But in our case we cannot antagonise him on his home turf (Pune) in Maharashtra as he still enjoys massive public sympathy.”

In fact, the state political leadership is drawing strategies to effectively counter the ramifications of the Hazare’s second agitation in Delhi, that against the enforcement of Jan Lok Pal bill. State NCP ministers feel they are in a Catch-22 situation after their activists clashed with Hazare followers at Ralegan Siddhi in Ahmednagar.

However, the party’s political managers have now issued clear directives not to fall prey to Hazare’s pressure tactics. The stage was set by none other than NCP president Sharad Pawar, who was amused at the manner in which state leaders, including his ministers, have often made a beeline to win Hazare’s confidence.

“People are the best judge. I have been in public life for 50 years. And during my tenure as Maharashtra chief minister I have never used or misused anybody (Hazare),” the union agriculture minister said.

Pawar has taken a conscious decision against engaging in a verbal duel on any matter related to Hazare. Highly placed sources in NCP revealed to DNA, “While Pawar may have taken the bold stand of maintaining neutrality, half a dozen NCP ministers are afraid of being caught on the wrong side of the Hazare fence. The public support to his agitation has forced many to strengthen the bridge with his despite facing wrath.”

Sources also revealed state home minister RR Patil, water resources (Krishna Valley Corporation) Ramraje Nimbalkar, tribal welfare minister Babanrao Panchpute et al are not in favour of rubbing Hazare the wrong way fearing backlash in the local bodies elections.

Senior Congress ministers have decided to maintain silence on Hazare stir. MPCC chief Manikrao Thakre said, “Any matter related to Team Anna should be left to AICC. Even on state issues, they should avoid direct or indirect confrontation with Anna.”


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