Asks R.R. Patil to be stern with officers who are not performing

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Saturday faulted the Maharashtra Home Ministry, which is headed by his party colleague R.R. Patil, saying it should be more effective in preventing repeated bomb blasts in the State.

Addressing party workers on the issue of the drought in Maharashtra, Mr. Pawar expressed displeasure at the way a single community was targeted after the blasts which he said was against social justice.

He said the police and intelligence departments should find out why repeated blasts were taking place in the State. Such events showed the administration “in a poor light.”

Later at a press conference, in response to questions, he said he had instructed Mr. Patil to be stern with officers who were not performing.

Mr. Pawar said he was familiar with the workings of the Home Ministry and if authority was displayed at the top then it would percolate to the lowest level. He said people who were not doing their job must be made accountable. He felt that it was not a question of failure on the Home Department’s part. However, bomb blasts were happening repeatedly and it was the responsibility of those in charge to find out why and keep a close eye on developments.

With regard to CCTV cameras in Mumbai after 26/11, he had been told a decision was to be taken shortly by a high-power committee headed by the Chief Secretary. He said this issue too had been delayed for a long time.

Mr. Pawar, both in his speech and later at the press meet, praised Team Anna going political in a tongue-in-cheek manner and said their idea of a dialogue with people was a very good thing.

“We have welcomed it, and we don’t have a problem. If you go to the people with issues, all they have to do is raise their hands and say yes. The people have said yes to a political party already,” Mr. Pawar remarked.

Team Anna, he said, had shown the others the way of fighting elections without money. “They are showing us a way and we will see and learn from them and change,” he added in a sarcastic vein.

Learning from Sena

In his address to party workers, Mr. Pawar said the Shiv Sena has shakhas or branches all over the place which cater to the needs of local people and their problems. He felt this model should be replicated by the NCP.