Nationalist Congress Party MP Supriya Sule on Tuesday said that it was “unfortunate and shocking” that no woman was given a ministerial berth in Maharashtra’s expanded Cabinet.

Eighteen MLAs from the Maharashtra Assembly – eight each from Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party – took oath as ministers on Tuesday morning more than a month after Eknath Shinde was sworn in as the chief minister.

“Fifty per cent of the population of the country is women and not a single woman finding a place in the cabinet is shocking and surprising,” she said. “This decision shows that they do not respect women.”

Sule said that there have been several occasions during which BJP leaders have expressed regressive opinions about women. “Many times people of that party express the view that women should be confined to the has started reflecting in their words and actions,” she said.

In May, Maharashtra BJP President Chandrakant Patil had asked Sule to “go home and cook” instead of being in politics.

Sule also pointed out that BJP had demanded Shiv Sena MLA Sanjay Rathod’s resignation in 2021 saying he was linked to the death of a woman, but now, he was inducted as a minister, PTI reported.

“I am happy that he has been made a minister,” she said. “When he was with us, we maintained that injustice is being done against him. But it was the BJP that demanded his resignation by making wild allegations. But what happened to Puja Chavan whose death forced Rathod to resign from the cabinet?”

Twenty-three-year-old Chavan died on February 8 after falling off the building in which she lived. Two days later, a purported audio clip emerged of two men talking about Chavan’s death. The BJP alleged that one of them was Rathod, but the minister denied this allegation.

Sule said she was happy that many leaders who were earlier with the Nationalist Congress Party found a place in the new cabinet.

“Many strove hard for years and yet they could not become ministers,” she said. “But our talented and intelligent people got a chance. I whole-heartedly thank the BJP.”

Shiv Sena leaders Uday Samant, Deepak Kesarkar and BJP’s Vijaykumar Gavit, who were inducted as ministers, have been with the Nationalist Congress in the past.