Mumbai: Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray Friday heaped praises on state Home Minister RR Patil for "speaking out" and not bowing to the machinations of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.
"Usually, Patil has been known to make a blunder before speaking or later. But in the present instance, by his truthful utterances, he has echoed the feelings of the people of the state," Thackeray said in an editorial Friday in the party mouthpiece `Saamana`.
Thackeray`s reference was to this week`s state cabinet meeting in which Patil urged Pawar, who also holds the energy portfolio, to ensure that the poor tribals of Gadchiroli district were not subjected to power cuts on the occasion of Diwali.
Pleading the tribals` cause, Patil said that under a central scheme, all arrangements have been made for supplying electricity to all homes in the tribal and Maoist-hit areas of the country.
However, as the tribals are unable to pay the bills, they have been deprived of electricity on the eve of Diwali. Patil demanded whether the government would give any remission.
Apparently amused by the demand, Pawar rejected Patil`s proposal outright, though both hail from the Nationalist Congress Party.
"The issue I have raised is a serious one. You make fun of it, tomorrow the voters will make fun of you," a stung Patil blasted the opponents, leaving Pawar and others stunned.
Fully supporting Patil`s stand, Thackeray wondered Pawar`s need to be arrogant when the matter concerned poor tribals, especially those in the Maoist-affected regions of eastern Maharashtra.
"When the power ministry favours those who steal electricity worth crores of rupees, the department would hardly object to the small requirements of the poor farmers or tribals," he said.
After the war of words, both Pawar and Patil would return to normal business, the edit added. However, Patil`s "curse" would be echoed not only by the farmers or tribals, but the people of the entire state, Thackeray said.