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    From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 9, Issue 46, Dated 17 Nov 2012
    CULTURE & SOCIETY  

    CHANGE. CRISIS. AND A TIME TO THiNK

    ‘I had to break many a nexus’

    Prithviraj Chavan

    Prithviraj Chavan, 66, Chief Minister, Maharashtra

    Photo: Vijay Pandey

    What idea brought you to politics, what was your vision?
    I am actually an accidental politician, who had no inclination towards politics despite belonging to a political family, with my parents being prominent names. However, in 1991, Rajiv Gandhi decided that I should play an active role. He was looking for young people with a vision for India, those who wanted to see the country prosper by breaking the shackles of corruption and poverty. In fact, that is exactly what drives my work as the chief minister of Maharashtra.

    You must have a tough job at hand with Maharashtra deeply entrenched in flawed policy decisions and rampant corruption?
    Yes, it has been a huge task for me. Maharashtra largely depends on agriculture, and that has been a major concern for me. The resources were there, but the farmers were not reaping the benefits. So much money was pumped into irrigation projects, but the farmers still had to face losses. Same was the case in the construction sector and the issue of the FSI (floor space index). I had to clear major hurdles, break many a nexus. There is nothing political about all this. Rather, it is about bringing a state like Maharashtra — one of the most significant states in the country — back on its feet.

    But most of it has taken on a political hue?
    Yes, I am aware of this and it is very disappointing. I am not against any political party. That these scams are coming out in the open is the work of RTI activists, not my work per se or that of the Congress. But I am glad that at least the mess is out in the open, the rot has been exposed. At least, the people are seeking accountability from politicians. When I asked for a white paper on irrigation, there was no hidden agenda of taking on the NCP, as has been widely speculated. It is only with a white paper that we can come out with solutions to our irrigation problems.

    So, you believe you are on the right track in Maharashtra?
    Are you on track with the vision you brought with you? Absolutely, and I have no immediate agenda of moving out of Maharashtra, though that too has been widely speculated. I have done good work in Maharashtra, more or less along the lines of the agenda with which I came here. It is not about claims of making Mumbai the next Shanghai. Rather, it is about giving Mumbai what it deserves. It has the infrastructure it needs, but caught in the shackles of corruption. I am just trying to free it.

    Rana Ayyub is an Assistant Editor with Tehelka.
    rana@tehelka.com


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    From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 9, Issue 46, Dated 17 Nov 2012
 

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