A description that fits Uddhav Thackeray’s high-profile political secretary Milind Narvekar is that he is Ahmed Patel and Vincent George rolled into one for the chief minister. But the latest buzz in the corridors of power these days is that Thackeray has been relying more on inputs from Shiv Sena ministers Anil Parab and Eknath Shinde. There is an intense debate in the Sena circles over whether this is the first sign of a rift between Thackeray and his long-time chief lieutenant.
Former state minister Ravindra Waikar has made a comeback of sorts. After missing out on a ministerial berth in the Uddhav Thackeray-led government, he has now been appointed as the chief coordinating officer at the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO). The post will likely have the same status as that of a cabinet minister. But there has been some discussion over the delay in the implementation of the move. While Thackeray gave his nod to the move last week itself, the state administration is yet to issue final orders, confirmed sources.
Additional chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte (1985-batch IAS officer) has emerged as the frontrunner to succeed Ajoy Mehta as the state’s new chief secretary. Mehta’s extended term ends in March. While Sanjay Kumar (1984) and Pravin Pardeshi (1985) are also in the race, we have heard that the CM has narrowed down the list to Kunte, who is presently serving as the head of the general administration department.
More than two months after Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress joined forces to form the government, a coordination committee, meant to guide the functioning of the government from the outside, is yet to be formed. The three sides had earlier agreed on the formation of such a committee. Buzz is that a power tussle is on within the three parties, which has delayed the committee’s formation.
Raj Thackeray was billed to make a comeback speech and expected to relaunch the MNS onto the centre stage of Hindutva politics. But his rally on Sunday failed to live up to expectations, with some political observers even commenting that it was a damp squib.
Compiled by Sandeep Ashar