Rane tells Patil to set ‘home’ in order

Home Minister says CM holding 'remote control', has rendered him powerless.

Simmering anger erupted Wednesday as Industries Minister Narayan Rane, annoyed by his constant needling, hit back at Home Minister R R Patil questioning the work of his department.

The Congress leader also suggested that Patil spend more time on matters related to the home ministry and get a grip on it.

In a rebuff, Patil said the "remote control" necessary to run home affairs was with CM Prithviraj Chavan.

"If you hand it over, I will show how it can be used," the NCP leader said.

In successive cabinet meetings, Patil has been critical of the new industrial policy presented by Rane. On Wednesday, he gave a 20-minute lecture on how the policy would serve the rich and hurt farmers.

Patil also accused Rane of not taking the Finance Ministry headed by Deputy CM and NCP leader Ajit Pawar into confidence before approving the policy. Rane immediately summoned senior officials and showed the file that had Finance Ministry signatures. This silenced Patil but he continued to accuse Rane of promoting anti-poor and anti-farmer policies. He wondered why the new industrial policy was not taken to drought-affected regions.

Rane responded, "I have no problem taking the policy wherever you desire, provided you ensure adequate water supply. Every industry requires water and electricity." At the end of the two-hour-long closed-door cabinet meeting, Rane sought permission from CM to raise an unlisted issue.

Getting the go-ahead, he said, "Against the backdrop of the Delhi gangrape, there is a general atmosphere of fear in Maharashtra. What has the state home department done to instill confidence in women. Can the home minister list measures taken to reassure women in the state."

Patil, seated next to Rane, was taken aback. Not known to take criticism in his stride, he became aggressive.

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