Mumbai: Several ministers in chief minister Eknath Shinde‘s faction of the Shiv Sena are reportedly unhappy over the portfolios allocated to them. After Saturday’s portfolio allocation, only a couple of Shinde’s faction ministers appeared satisfied with the portfolios they got. The majority were miffed over ‘demotions’, according to insiders in the Sena faction.
Ministers Dada Bhuse and Sandipan Bhumre have apparently complained that they were ‘not given their due’. Five time legislator Bhumre has been given the departments of employment guarantee scheme and horticulture and is irked that he was not given a ‘better’ portfolio. Bhuse was agriculture minister in the Thackeray ministry and is peeved that he has been allotted ports and mining. Many colleagues of Shinde are reportedly upset that the agriculture ministry has gone to Sillod MLA Abdul Sattar who was not even in the Shiv Sena till 2019.
Shinde faction legislators are also unhappy that BJP has ‘cornered top portfolios’ like home, finance, revenue, rural development, environment, tourism and tribal development leaving very few portfolios for the CM to give his colleagues who rebelled against the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray.
The Thackeray faction was quick to seize on the issue. An editorial in party mouthpiece Saamana claimed that BJP had made a joke of MLAs in the Shinde camp. It claimed BJP had not given Shinde camp ministers ‘meaningful ministries’ while BJP ‘cornered all big ministries.’
Bhumre and Bhuse have officially denied that they were upset, while state BJP chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule questioned the Saamna criticism. He claimed that Thackeray did not make any issue when Congress and NCP received ‘plum portfolios’ in the Maha Vikas Aghadi ministry.
When Eknath Shinde was asked about disgruntlement among colleagues he said: “Portfolios are not important. Work and responsibility are. One should do justice to portfolios allocated. A minister does not just head his own department, but the entire state. He has the duty to work for the wholesome development and progress of the state.”
South Mumbai MP Arvind Sawant, who remains in the Uddhav faction, slammed the ‘shabby treatment’ given to the ministers in the Shinde group. “Several of their (Shinde camp MLAs) dreams have been destroyed. The rest of them (waiting to be made ministers) will get dismayed after this. They should know what they are going to get eventually,” Sawant said.
Opposition leader Ajit Pawar, however, rebuked the classification of ministries. “It is the prerogative of the chief minister to allocate portfolios. No ministry is big or small. It is the responsibility of a minister to do justice to whatever ministry he is given,” Pawar said.
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