The Maharashtra Cabinet expansion has left several leaders of the Congress visibly upset after they were not inducted.
Congress ministers accompanied by Mallikarjun Kharge, KC Venugopal and party secretary Ashish Dua on Tuesday met party interim president Sonia Gandhi and former chief Rahul Gandhi.
Senior ministers, including Balasaheb Thorat and Ashok Chavan, who took oath on Monday, also met the top leadership.
This came after six Congress MLAs – Chavan, Naseem Khan, Praniti Shinde, Sangram Thopte, Amin Patel and Rohidas Patil – reportedly met senior party leader Mallikarjun Kharge Monday evening and shared their concerns, alleging that the party loyalists have been ignored.
The Congress in the state has been facing internal differences with some senior leaders saying that they have been ignored in the cabinet expansion. From Mumbai, Amin Patel, the two-time MLA was expecting a cabinet berth but was overlooked while as younger members — Aslam Sheikh and Varsha Gaikwad — were inducted in the cabinet.
The senior leaders have made their grievances known to the party leadership. The Congress, which came fourth in the Assembly polls is now planning to accommodate senior leaders in the party and many may be assigned organisational work, according to sources quoted by IANS.
The Congress has got 12 berths in the cabinet and is eyeing some key portfolios. Apart from the speaker’s post, the party has to appoint a new state president as Bala Saheb Thorat has been inducted in the cabinet.
Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who was the frontrunner for the speaker’s post is now being considered for the state chief post. Another former chief minister Ashok Chavan is also now part of the cabinet.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena MLA Sunil Raut on Monday rubbished all speculation that he was “unhappy” over being denied a ministerial berth in the party-led Maharashtra government and was planning to quit as legislator.
However, hours after expansion, NCP MLA from Beed district, Prakash Solanke, on Monday night announced that he would resign as the member of the Legislative Assembly, as he is “unworthy to do politics”.
Solanke, who got elected from Majalgaon seat on four occasions, denied any link between his sudden decision and his non-induction in the state Cabinet.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday expanded his cabinet by inducting 35 ministers — including his son Aditya Thackeray — comprising 25 of Cabinet and 10 of Minister of State rank. For the first time since 2014, the ministry has a staggering four Muslim ministers.
Nationalist Congress Party senior leader was sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister for a record fourth time — and a second time in two months.
Earlier, on November 28, Uddhav Thackeray took the oath as the Chief Minister along with six other ministers – Eknath Shinde, Subhash Desai (both Sena), Jayant Patil, Chhagan Bhujbal (NCP), Balasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut (Congress).
The Shiv Sena last month joined hands with the Congress and NCP, its traditional adversaries, after its alliance with the BJP collapsed over the issue of sharing the chief ministerial post.