Maha govt defends its Mins; ally Sena thinks otherwise

RSTV Bureau

Shiv_sena_udAllegations are queuing up fast against the BJP governments in the states. After Rajasthan CM caught in Lalit Modi controversy and the opposition Congress taking on Madhya Pradesh government in Vayapam scam, two sitting ministers of BJP-led Maharashtra government are facing allegations of awarding contracts without following the due process.

And what may be seen as an embarrassment for the ruling party, its ally Shiv Sena has opined that the ministers facing allegations step down till the time they “come out clean”.

Education Minister Vinod Tawde is facing allegations of irregularities in connection with awarding of Rs 191 crore contract without inviting tenders, while Women and Child Welfare Minister Pankaja Munde is under cloud for allegedly clearing contract worth Rs 206 crore for the purchase of several items under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).

The contract cleared by Tawde has now been put on hold after the objections were raised by the Finance Department. The state Finance Department has now sought a probe into the alleged irregularities pertaining to the contract awarded by the School Education Department for buying fire extinguishers without e-tendering for Zilla Parishad schools across the state.

Meanwhile, Tawde has refuted the allegation hurled by the Opposition Congress, claiming “not a single rupee has been paid to contractors. We stopped the order immediately after the Finance Department raised objections”.

And in the case of Pankaja Munde, the state’s Anti-Corruption Bureau is now seized of the matter after an official complaint was lodged the Congress party.

Pankaja Munde is daughter of late BJP strongman Gopinath Munde. Addressing her supporters in Mumbai, she claimed “I will expose the conspiracy against me with your trust and support”.

On his part, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has come out in the support of his embattled colleagues accusing the principal opposition Congress of making baseless charges without proof.

But the ruling BJP’s coalition partner Shiv Sena has taken a view differing from an incumbent. Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant on Tuesday said that the ministers facing allegations step down until they are proven innocent.

“When such an incident had happened during Balasaheb’s (Bal Thackeray) time, he asked for proof against his minister. When he prima facie found substance in the material given to him, he asked his minister to resign, face an inquiry and asked him to come out clean,” Arvind Sawant told the press.

He further claimed that his party will wait for Chief Minister Fadnavis’ statement in the issue.

“Similar is the case with Pankaja Munde. Uddhavji had said allegations against her are serious. The CM is competent enough to look into the matter. We are waiting for his statement now,” Sawant said in particular reference to allegations against Ms Munde.

(With inputs from the PTI)