Opposition wrongly giving political colour to ATS probe: Mah CM

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Kolhapur, Nov 22 (UNI) Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh today blamed the Opposition (Shiv Sena-BJP) for 'wrongly giving communal colour' to the Anti Terrorism Squad's (ATS) investigation into the September 29 Malegaon bomb blast case that has led to the arrest of 11 accused, including a Sadhvi and a Swami.

Talking to reporters here, Mr Deshmukh justified the ATS' probe saying their investigation was moving in a right direction and there was no need to point fingers at it. However, the Opposition was making baseless charges against ATS for their political gains.

Pointing out that the ruling Congress-NCP government is secular, Mr Deshmukh charged that the Opposition was not consistent in its stand on any issues.

The Chief Minister said Maharashtra is ranked first in the country on all fronts despite industrial slowdown due to recession in the world. He said the state government had already directed all distict collectors to provide 80 per cent of jobs to Marathi-speaking people.

Mr Deshmukh declared that an authority will be set up to implement a plan for Kolhapur, whereunder it will be developed as a holy place on the lines of Nanded city. For which, the state government would extend all help after the Union Government's approval and financial help.

The plan worth about Rs 2,000 crore would be implemented within the five years, he pointed out. Some changes are necessary in the plan before forwarding it to the Union Government, he said.

A proposal in this regard was submitted to the Chief Minister by mayor Uday Salokhe, daily 'Pudhari' editor P G Jadhav and other committe members earlier in the day.

Replying to a question, Mr Deshmukh said there was no adverse impact on Maharashtra's image due to the recent agitation by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) activists.

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