A day after her Twitter spat with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, rural development minister Pankaja Munde was on the backfoot and clarified through a Facebook post that she was not unhappy over the loss of her two portfolios in the recent cabinet reshuffle.
The clarification comes after Fadnavis snubbed and directed her to attend the world water summit in Singapore after she had tweeted that though she had reached the city, she would not be attending the event as she was no longer the state water conservation minister.
The spat was played out before the public on Twitter and spilled out onto the streets with Munde supporters from the BJP in Pathardi taluka in Ahmednagar burning an effigy of Fadnavis even as those in her home town, Parli protested against him.
Using the social media once again this time to make amends, Munde in a Facebook post on Monday, said: “I reached Singapore from Indonesia. As I was outside India, I posted a tweet. I was invited for world water leaders summit in Singapore but due to recent changes in the portfolio, I felt a bit inappropriate to attend as I was not the minister of the concerned department. Since my people, press from Beed will expect photos and news, I posted this...I am very happy that my close associates Ram Shinde and Jay Kumar Rawal have been given my portfolios. I even congratulated them on Twitter...where is the question of displeasure?”
The minister also tweeted: “I sincerely request everyone to not indulge in any acts, which I don’t support. Please don’t insult any person in any manner. Please maintain law and order situation at any cost.” Munde lost two out of her four portfolios — water conservation and employment guarantee scheme — in the recent cabinet reshuffle announced by Fadnavis late Saturday night.
The portfolios went to younger ministers, who are seen as close to Fadnavis, including former minister of state for home, Shinde, who got a promotion during the reshuffle and Jaykumar Rawal, the MLA from Dhule. The state government has not taken the anti-CM demonstrations lightly with the police arresting BJP Yuva Morcha members of Pathardi taluka for burning the CM’s effigy.
The Congress used the opportunity to take potshots at the BJP to point out that this was the first time in the history of the state that CM’s effigy was burnt because of loss of portfolio by his own party minister’s supporters.
Sources within the BJP said the CM (in Russia for a trade fair) was irritated with Munde’s publicity stint. Despite repeated text messages, Munde was not available for comment. “This was childish. It is CM’s prerogative to give and take away portfolios, so nothing can be achieved by such tantrums. Also, majority within the party don’t think she had anything to complain about and she continues to hold two big portfolios. It has shown the BJP in a bad light,” said a senior party functionary.