The Shiv Sena admitted on Thursday that there was a tussle among senior leaders of its party, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress over key Cabinet berths in Maharashtra. In an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana, the party said some MLAs could not be inducted as ministers as the “list of probables” was huge.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led government expanded the Cabinet on Monday, more than a month after he assumed office. Governor BS Koshyari administered the oath of office to 25 Cabinet ministers and 10 ministers of state at Vidhan Bhavan. Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar was sworn in as deputy chief minister, and Aaditya Thackeray, Uddhav Thackeray’s son and an MLA from Mumbai’s Worli, also got a ministerial position.
Congress leader and former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan also took oath along with his party colleagues Vijay Wadettiwar and Amit Deshmukh, who is the son of former Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh. Nationalist Congress Party leaders Nawab Malik, Dilip Walse Patil and Dhananjay Munde found a place in the Cabinet. However, the expansion left out some senior politicians, such as Congress leader and former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.
On Thursday, the Shiv Sena said that while the Opposition, the Bharatiya Janata Party, may be gleeful about the tussle, even the former Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government had faced such problems.
The Shiv Sena added that now that a “strong and experienced” Cabinet has been formed, it should be allowed to function.
The Shiv Sena editorial criticised the vandalism of the Congress office in Pune to protest against the non-inclusion of party MLA Sangram Thopte in the ministry. “Hooliganism does not suit Congress culture,” the Saamana editorial said. “The Congress used to describe the Shiv Sena as a party of ‘hooligans’, but what Thopte’s supporters did was the same [hooliganism].” The editorial said that the hooliganism of Thopte’s supporters is the result of the belief that there can be no purposeful politics without a position in the Cabinet.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led party also said it kept its promise by inducting three Independents, who had extended support to the Shiv Sena before the government was formed. The party also said that its MLA Bhaskar Jadhav, who has been upset over not getting a Cabinet berth, was not promised any such position. Jadhav had claimed that Uddhav Thackeray promised to make him Cabinet minister.
The Shiv Sena also condemned Nationalist Congress Party MLA Prakash Solanke, who resigned as legislator on Monday, asserting that he was “unworthy” to do politics. “However, later on, the Nationalist Congress Party leadership consoled Solanke, and he is not upset any more,” the party claimed. Solanke had said while quitting that his resignation had nothing to do with not getting a ministerial berth.