Mumbai: Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil on Saturday got some stick for the "maximum" bomb blasts in the state from NCP supremo Sharad Pawar who said it reflected poorly on the state administration and aroused suspicions about a "particular community".

"Maximum number of bomb blasts in the last few years have taken place in Maharashtra, especially in Mumbai and Pune. This reflects poorly on the state administration," Pawar, Union Agriculture Minister, told a press conference.

Pawar said he had asked Patil, an NCP leader, to focus on improving the performance of the police and intelligence departments.

"When incidents such as blasts happen, not only innocent people lose lives but the attitude of the society to a particular community changes," he said, apparently referring to Muslims.

Pointing out that majority of the people readily suspect "a particular community" due to frequent terror attacks, Pawar said it was not good for social harmony and the intelligence department and the police should take note of this.

"I have told state Home Minister R R Patil to pay more attention to this issue. The responsibility of keeping an eye on disruptive elements lies with the state intelligence and police," he said.

Officials, who were not result-oriented, should be shown their place, Pawar said.

"The administration's authority should be visible and be exercised. The authorities in charge of intelligence-gathering and law and order should be assertive and effective. Only then the message would go down to the lowest level.

"A team of state home ministry officials and the Minister had visited London last year to study the CCTV system there. It is now more than seven to eight months, we are still at the tender processing stage. This is not good," Pawar said doing some plain-talking.

The key home portfolio has been with NCP ever since it formed a coalition government in Maharashtra with Congress.

On Team Anna's decision to take a plunge in electoral politics, Pawar, in a sarcastic tone, said he welcomed the move, as the political parties might learn how to run the organisation and contest elections without money from the new party.

"They say their party will not have a high command, and people will take all the decisions, including selection of candidates. Who will provide the funds for development works? We will learn something new," he said.

To a question whether BJP or Congress would suffer due to the entry of Team Anna into electoral politics, Pawar said, "Since UPA was Team Anna's target, we will have to worry."

But earlier, addressing newly elected taluka and district unit chiefs of NCP, Pawar said opposition parties were feeling uneasy now, because so far Team Anna was targeting (only) UPA.

While rapping the state Home Department on knuckles, Pawar came out in support of PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal and Water Resources Minister Sunil Tatkare, both NCP leaders, who are facing allegations of corruption. "The allegations are baseless. Doing business is not a crime. Misusing power is a mistake," he said.
     
Pawar also rejected allegations of corruption against himself, levelled by Team Anna.

The NCP chief praised Shiv Sena's model of building the party in Mumbai. "Shiv Sena grew in Mumbai because it established shakha (branch) in every ward. Its activists would be present at the shakha and help out citizens for school admissions, civic problems," he said.

Pawar, who visited Gujarat on Friday as head of the EGoM on drought, said Gujarat spent Rs 3,000 crore in the last few years on the construction of farm ponds and cement check dams.

"These have proved useful in water conservation in the scarcity situation."

(Agencies)

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