It looks like the Congress-led Democratic Front government in Maharasthra is hell bent on outdoing its 10-year-old ally – the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). Recently, senior Congress leaders left no stone unturned to corner the NCP supremo and Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Sharad Pawar over the rising food prices. Political observes say it all began with the concerted efforts of the MMRDA, headed by Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who suddenly started showing keen interest in three major projects – the Mantralaya Makeover, the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) connecting Sewri-Nhava Sheva and the Mumbai Water Transport Corridor (MWTC). Interestingly, the Public Works Department and the Maharasthtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) are controlled by NCP leaders – Deputy CM Chhagan Bhujbal and Minister Jaidutt Kshirsagar respectively. Now, both the leaders are fuming as the PWD and MSRDC had been working on these projects for a long time now. Differences started to evolve after Chavan washed his hands off the Rs 1,376-crore Mantralaya makeover project, a few days before the State Assembly elections. The blue print of the project was prepared by the PWD. However, the CM-led Urban Development Department’s decision to appoint MMRDA as the planning authority of entire Nariman Point area has ruffled several feathers since the latter will have a final say in the Mantralaya makeover project. The MMRDA has gone ahead and drafted a new proposal with its own design for Mantralaya, leaving the NCP and PWD fuming.
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