Mumbai: Having been pushed into the hurly
burly of Maharashtra politics quite unexpectedly, Chief
Minister Prithviraj Chavan faces the most important challenge
of his tenure in the ensuing local bodies elections, as he
completes one year in office on Friday.
Chavan, who spent most of his political life in the
corridors of power in Delhi, was catapulted to the highest
political office in his home state from the relative obscurity
of the backroom of the Prime Minister`s office after his
predecessor Ashok Chavan had to step down in the wake of the
Adarsh Housing Society controversy.
Managing a fractious coalition partner in Sharad Pawar`s
NCP, Chavan has weathered a string of farmers` agitations and
accusations of indecisiveness but pushed forward his pro-
development and pro-reform agenda in one of the most enduring
strongholds of the Congress.
As many as 196 municipal councils, 27 Zilla Parishads,
305 panchayat samitis and 10 municipal corporations including
the Shiv Sena-controlled Mumbai civic body will go to polls
between December and March 2012.
The fact that the last three months have seen the Chavan
government grapple with massive agrarian agitations -- by
onion, cotton and now sugarcane cultivators -- have not made
his task of putting up an impressive show at the hustings any
easier. Rising food inflation and repeated petrol price hikes
have made it even more daunting.
All through the year, Chavan has been accused by his ally
NCP and opposition Shiv Sena-BJP of avoiding taking quick
decisions, resulting in prolonged delays in clearing