A day after NCP chief Sharad Pawar asked his team members in the state ministry to submit their resignations, speculations scaled up over who will be losing their ministerial berths, and who are the new faces the party will be looking for.
The reshuffle is seen as NCP leadership’s attempt to improve the party’s image, which has been hit by a series of scams, ahead of state elections.
Senior party leader and Union minister for heavy industries Praful Patel indicated on Saturday that some new faces would be inducted in NCP’s team of ministers.
However, this does not mean all the ministers who are facing allegations of corruption or irregularities would be given marching orders.
In the past few months, almost half a dozen NCP ministers including deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, water resources minister Sunil Tatkare, public works minister Chhagan Bhujbal, and minister of state for education Faujia Khan were in trouble over various issues. However, it is unlikely that all of them will be axed.
“Let’s face it. The reshuffle is planned with a view to improve the party’s performance in the elections. So some of them will have to go but those who are politically important will stay as ministers,”said a senior NCP minister.
It is likely that ministers such as Bhujbal will continue in the government until they contest the elections.
The party will also be looking at increasing its numbers at the Centre. Hence many veteran leaders and ministers including Bhujbal, RR Patil, Hasan Mushrif, Tatkare and Jaydutt Kshirsagar might be asked to contest Lok Sabha polls.
Bhujbal said from Nashik that he was ready to take on new roles.
“The party decision will have to be accepted. Sometimes you have to play different roles as the party demands,” he said.