After a brief ceasefire, the long-delayed expansion of the state cabinet may now become the latest irritant in the delicate Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) relations. While speculation is rife over the timing expansion, the Sena has now come out and expressed its irritation with the BJP’s lack of clarity over it.
With just four days to go for the month to end, time is running out for the BJP to expand the cabinet. It had promised to do the needful by the end of November.
Senior Sena leader and industries minister Subhash Desai criticised partner BJP and said that it was already much-delayed. “The cabinet expansion has been delayed way too much. They must now hurry up because the new ministers, who are keen on serving the state, are missing out on the opportunity to do so owing to the delay,” he said. Desai said that the BJP had not conveyed any official word about the expansion. “We are waiting for the BJP to officially tell us when the expansion will happen,” he said.
Along with the delay, what is making the Sena jittery is that the BJP has refused to come out in public about the number of posts it plans to offer to its ally. “They haven’t specified anything to us yet. However, there are demands from certain quarters in the party that the Sena must get at least two cabinet posts and two ministers of state posts,” he said.
It’s the BJP’s refusal to hold a conversation with the BJP that is creating unrest with both the Sena as well as the group of smaller parties, which have also expressed their unhappiness with the BJP. Since the Bihar poll results were declared earlier this month, senior BJP leaders in the state have been saying that there will be an expansion of the Devendra Fadnavis cabinet.
PWD minister Chandrakant Patil had told Hindustan Times that the BJP was planning to appoint 12 new ministers, of whom six would belong to the BJP, two to the Sena and one each to the four smaller parties it fought the polls in alliance with.
State BJP chief Raosaheb Danve could not be reached for a comment. However, other BJP leaders said that they were awaiting an approval from the party’s top leadership.