Discontent grows in Maharashtra coalition after allocation of portfolios
Dissenting voices have surfaced within Maharashtra’s ruling Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress alliance after chief minister Uddhav Thackeray allocated portfolios to his ministers on Sunday, according to people aware of the developments.
A few Congress leaders are believed to be unhappy over not getting the departments they wanted, while some Sena legislators have expressed unhappiness for their exclusion from the cabinet, the people added. In the NCP, too, hectic lobbying went on till the last minute for significant departments.
The portfolios were allocated six days after Thackeray expanded his cabinet on December 30.
The people cited above said the Congress was demanding key portfolios like agriculture. It instead got three relatively insignificant departments like sports and youth welfare. A section of the Congress leaders are blaming its state leadership involved in the negotiations for the portfolios for the raw deal, they added.
“Nitin Raut and Vijay Wadettiwar, who have given energy and OBC [Other Backward Class] ministers were seeking more lucrative departments. Raut was expecting the public works department. However, nobody has openly expressed his displeasure,” said a Congress leader on condition of anonymity.
NCP leaders, including Dilip Walse-Patil, Nawab Malik and Chhagan Bhujbal, were reportedly trying to get lucrative departments. Anil Deshmukh getting home ministry has raised eyebrows within the party. Ajit Pawar, Jayant Patil, and Dilip Walse-Patil were believed to be the contenders for the portfolio.
Many Shiv Sena legislators, including Sunil Raut, Bhaskar Jadhav, expressed their discontent over their exclusion from the cabinet.
Minister of state and Shiv Sena leader Abdul Sattar separately met Thackeray on Sunday and clarified that he was not unhappy amid reports about his resignation. Sattar dismissed the reports as rumours.
“Sattar was told during the meeting on Sunday that infighting… and anti-party activities will not be tolerated. He was also told that the leaders at the local level are expected to work in the interest of the three-party alliance of Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi,” said a Sena leader requesting anonymity.
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