Cabinet expansion: Is it ‘different’ or ‘daring gamble or ‘time-tested politics’?

Nagpur: The Cabinet expansion undertaken by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has sparked unending talk on various aspects. The exercise is being dubbed “It’s different.” “A daring gamble.” “Time-tested politics.” And so on.

The Maharashtra Cabinet expansion on Monday saw induction of 36 ministers. NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s nephew, Ajit Pawar, took oath Deputy Chief Minister, Uddhav’s son Aditya becoming Cabinet Minister and 34 other leaders from Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress getting berth in the ministry.

As far as three partners of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, Congress and NCP stuck to old guards as veteran leaders of both the parties became ministers with exception of one or two. From Nagpur district, NCP’s Anil Deshmukh and Congress’ Sunil Kedar found place in the expanded Cabinet. Another senior leader of Congress, Dr Nitin Raut, was inducted in Uddhav Thackeray Cabinet at the time of government formation. All these three ministers are old guards.

Sanjay Raut gets ‘taste’ of Pawar politics:

“It will take 100s of births to understand Sharad Pawar” or ” Sharad Pawar taught us how to form government with minimum MLAs” were the statements of Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress’s Maha Vikas Aghadi’s Man-of-the-Match Sanjay Raut made few days ago. But, ironically, Sanjay Raut has ‘failed’ understand Pawar in this birth itself. Sanjay Raut, who played the most crucial role in formation of this Maha Vikas Aghadi is not only miffed with everyone but he also chose to skip the swearing-in ceremony on Monday. MLA Sunil Raut, brother of Sanjay Raut, who was promised a berth in the Cabinet was not in the list of those who made it yesterday. This is Sharad Pawar, Mr. Raut! No need to be surprised if it was Pawar who must have insisted on dropping Sunil from entering the Cabinet.

“Mr. Raut, you could have met Pawar 3 times in a day during those “Minimum Common Programme” days, but where are you now? Also heard your brother is ‘thinking’ of leaving the party. Tell him not to do so, as it will finish his career,” is the talk now..

Uddhav’s daring!

To leave the likes of Diwakar Raote, Ramdas Kadam, Deepak Kesarkar, Tanaji Sawant, Dr. Deepak Sawant & Ravindra Waikar from the Cabinet and giving newbies a chance to prove themselves is a daring move in itself. A total of 16 Ministers from Sena are sworn-in till now. Out of which 3 are Independants and one Abdul Sattar is an import from Congress. Two Ministers are Thackeray’s themselves so it leaves only actual 10 Shivsainiks who are Ministers today. What was BJP offering? 18 Ministers and plus 2 in the Centre????

But to leave veterans like Raote & Kadam is a gamble which one thinks should go in Uddhav’s favour. All the 6 Ministers dropped. A close source said, Uddhav was tired of their attitude especially the senior people. It is not a good sign for you if you advice or try and overpower/defy Uddhav’s decisions in Sena. Raote and Kadam just did that, and plus many of the 6, mentioned above, are allegedly very corrupt and Uddhav wanted to give a facelift to the party.

Ahead of the Maharashtra Cabinet expansion, the Shiv Sena had said that old guard is not ready to give up ministerial berths for young leaders and they should come out of the illusion that the state government cannot do without them. Without naming anyone, an editorial in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ also underscored the need for coming out of the psyche that one should get only a lucrative portfolio in the government “to serve the state or country”, and questioned the intention of such leaders. Government departments like relief, rehabilitation, information technology, skill development, school education and health are also important, but nobody is ready to take charge of them, the Sena had alleged, without naming its allies.

Dissent brews in Congress:

According to reports, the Maharashtra cabinet expansion on Monday has left several Congress MLAs, including senior leader Prithviraj Chavan, upset after they were not inducted.

Alleging that the party loyalists have been ignored, six Congress MLAs — Chavan, Naseem Khan, Praniti Shinde, Sangram Thopte, Amin Patel and Rohidas Patil — reportedly met senior party leader Mallikarjun Kharge last evening and shared their concerns, reports said. On Monday, Congress leaders Ashok Chavan, Dilip Walse-Patil, Dhananjay Munde, Sunil Chhatrapal Kedar and KC Padvi were sworn-in as ministers in the Maharashtra cabinet.

NCP MLA quits:

Hours after the cabinet expansion, an NCP MLA from Beed district resigned as he called himself “unworthy of politics”. Majalgaon MLA Prakash Solanke, however, clarified that his decision was not related to non-induction. “I have apprised NCP leaders about my decision to step down. I will meet Legislative Assembly Speaker (in Mumbai) on Tuesday and hand over my resignation letter. My resignation has nothing to do with the Cabinet expansion,” he was quoted as saying by a news agency.