Is this end of Narvekar “Era” from Matoshree?
Mumbai: There seems to be a change of guard happening both in the Shiv Sena at its power centre – Matoshree and at the Chief Ministers Office (CMO), which seems to indicate an end to the Milind Narvekar “era”. Did the nosey interference of Narvekar into the CMO happenings was his undoing, or had he grown too big for his shoes that even Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar began feeling unnerved?
It does seem as though in order to placate the ruffled feathers of the NCP chief, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government has taken a decision to create a special post in Chief Minister’s office (CMO) as Chief Coordinating Officer (CCO) with a cabinet rank.
This is in line with a similar post of Minister of State in the Prime Ministers Office (PMO) in New Delhi. Currently, Dr Jitendra Singh holds the charge as MoS in the PMO. These MoS are entrusted specific tasks or important assignments. Singh in PMO looks after important issues like Jammu and Kashmir, anti corruption wing, public grievances, defence and security related issues.
Ravindra Waikar, a close confidante of “Matoshree” would be appointed as CCO. This post has been created on the line of minister of state (MoS) to the CMO. The choice of Ravinda Waikar appears to be a clear hint that it’s the end of Milind Narvekar “era” from “Matoshree”.
Milind Narvekar whose ambition was to became Shakha Pramukh, 25 years back, quickly slipped into the role of a Personal Assistant to Uddhav Thackeray and later with deft moves became a close buddy of Uddhav, a key player and front runner in every even and odd circumstances. Milind broadened his networking in all political parties and with political big-wigs with the tacit consent of Uddhav Thackeray.
After Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, it was Milind who played a key role to form the ‘triangle’ government in the state – called Maha Vikas Aghadi comprising Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress.
Shiv Sena party chief Uddhav Thackeray sworn in as Chief Minister and Milind was appointed as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to CM.
However, according to sources, NCP supremo was not comfortable with the interference of Milind in political affairs in state Secretariat and his attendance in official meetings. The sources claimed, NCP Supremo had in no uncertain terms conveyed his displeasure to CM Thackeray and advised him that he should keep Milind away from official meetings.
After two months in office, CM Thackeray has taken the decision to officially appoint Ravindra Waikar as CCO in CMO. Waikar is member of legislative assembly (MLA) from Jogeshwari – East. He was MoS for Housing in previous Devendra Fadnavis led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – Shiv Sena coalition government from 2014 to 2019.
Though it was anticipated, Waikar did not find a berth in Thackeray cabinet. There were murmurs that ‘Matoshree’ was unhappy with Waikar referring to a particular project during his ministerial tenure. Waikar also courted controversy when he allegedly had safeguarded the interests of a developer in the city’s green lung Aarey colony. Sanjay Nirupam, the then President of Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) had alleged Waikar of ‘usurping’ 20 acres of land in Aarey colony to secure slum redevelopment project contract for a firm in which Waikar was a partner.
It seems that Waikar’s strained ties with Matoshree have cooled off and hence he has been rehabilitated in the CMO. Amongst the plus points that Waikar has is that he has served as Chairman of Standing Committee in the Sena ruled BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Waikar knows the regulations relating to Urban Development issues which is one of the most important “resources,” department for any CM or party, at the back of his hand.
Eknath Shinde is the minister for Urban Development Department (UDD) in Thackeray government, but Waikar is more credible to CM than Shinde, the sources claimed.
Once Waikar takes charge at the CMO, Milind Narvekar’s interference in CMO will automatically finish off. All crucial files associated with UDD and other ministries that will land at CMO desk will be first assessed by Waikar and then only it will get a ‘decisive’ clearance by CM.
Elevation of Waikar in the Sena ranks could be the onset of the end of Narvekar era from Thackeray and Matoshree, the Sena sourced claimed.