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Thackeray : Caught Between A Rock And A Hard Place

Can an embarrassed and troubled Uddhav Thackeray ask his Home Minister Anil Deshmukh to resign after former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh’s allegation that Deshmukh had asked his officers to extort Rs 100 crore per month for him? Given the tradition in Maharashtra’s coalition government, the Chief Minister is helpless unless the alliance partner NCP agrees to let him go. In this case, it is the NCP which must decide. Had it been a Congress minister, it would have been entirely that party’s call. Should Pawar decide to nominate him for another ministry from those allocated to the NCP, Uddhav would have to allow that. Had it been a Sena minister, Uddhav needn’t ask anyone at all. Technically, it is the CM, who heads the cabinet, but the team members are decided by each partner. When Chhagan Bhujbal was the Deputy Chief Minister to Sushilkumar Shinde, they both got along like a house on fire. But Pawar asked Bhujbal to resign when it was alleged that his supporters had violently attacked a TV station’s offices in 2003. He was replaced by Vijaysinh Mohite Patil while Shinde just had to grin (which he literally does as a habit) and bear it. If Uddhav goes against the delicate alliance arrangement, a serious crisis in the coalition could arise.