While ignoring MPs from Mumbai, Vidarbha and Central Maharashtra during the Union cabinet reshuffle on Monday, the Congress high command gave a strong message to senior party leaders in the state: work harder ahead of elections.
A day before the reshuffle, the high command also ensured that Prithviraj Chavan continued as chief minister while his adversary Mohan Prakash would lead the party affairs in the state.
Contrary to expectations, the Congress did not accommodate any MP from Mumbai, Vidarbha and Central Maharashtra in the cabinet. Instead, it chose Manikrao Gavit from the tribal-dominated North Maharashtra. Gavit was the only MP from the state to make it this time to the cabinet.
Mumbai's Gurudas Kamat, who quit the cabinet because he did not get a ministry of his choice, was made general secretary a day before the reshuffle. Other contenders, Nagpur's Vilas Muttemwar and Nanded's Bhaskar Khatgaonkar, were ignored on Monday.
"Our party sent out a message that nothing would come on a platter, and everyone has to work for the party before staking a claim to the Union cabinet. Maharashtra will be very crucial in next year's Lok Sabha polls and the party will not mind replacing disgruntled sitting MPs while nominating official candidates," a senior Congress leader said requesting anonymity. Some aspirants are still lobbying for the cabinet berth expecting another reshuffle soon.