While its ally, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has decided to reshuffle its cabinet members and bring in new faces, the Congress has ruled out any changes in its team.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan confirmed his resolve against any immediate change to a few media persons after NCP chief Sharad Pawar asked all his ministers to resign on Friday evening.
“The NCP’s decision is independent (of the Congress’s) and we have not made up our minds to change our team as yet. We will decide whenever we feel that a Cabinet reshuffle will strengthen the Congress’s electoral merit further,” said Chavan at an informal meeting at his official residence, Varsha.
He said that Pawar had told him about the plan two weeks ago. “But he (Pawar) delayed it because I requested him in view of the Yavatamal assembly by-poll. In fact, this was on Pawar’s mind for over the past two months. I hope they bring the best possible people into the Cabinet by next week.”
Chavan’s decision comes as bad news to aspirants in the party because there are some vacancies in its quota. Also, many senior legislators in the party are lobbying hard for Cabinet berths.
When asked whether he would succumb to pressure from the aspirants, Chavan said the party always had people aspiring for the ministerial positions. “The high command will take a call on this whenever needed. We have to see the social and regional balance in a reshuffle.”
A couple of Congress hopefuls told HT that they would not get deterred by Chavan’s stand. “We have been demanding Cabinet berths for long. It is time we get it because the elections are round the corner,” said a legislator from Marathwada.
Before Pawar rattled the Congress camp, two Congress seniors, Shivajirao Moghe and Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, met party president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on Friday evening.