Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar lauded the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said that the Eknath Shinde-led NDA government is working to assure that the benefits of the central schemes announced during the last nine and a half years of his tenure should reach out to the last man.
Making a sensational claim, Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut said that the Bharatiya Janata Party had allegedly threatened the ruling ally Shiv Sena Chief Minister Eknath Shinde of forfeiting his post if he denied the breakaway Nationalist Congress Party’s Deputy CM Ajit Pawar of the plum Finance & Planning portfolio.
Speaking to media-persons, Raut contended that the Shinde group MLAs had staunchly opposed the July 2 induction of the NCP faction led by Ajit Pawar in the government along with eight other cabinet ministers.
Later, a Shiv Sena delegation had gone to New Delhi to meet the BJP top brass and express their reservations on Ajit Pawar and even entrusting him with the Finance & Planning department.
“The BJP leaders were in no mood to oblige. They firmly told Shinde that if he did not want to give Ajit Pawar the Finance & Planning portfolio, then the Shiv Sena could handle it and instead make the NCP leader as the new CM. Taken aback, the Shinde group stepped back,” Raut stated.
The Sena (UBT) Chief Spokesperson revealed that he got this information from very reliable circles in the Centre but the manner in which the Shinde Shiv Sena leaders are “rejoicing and clapping” over Ajit Pawar’s appointment as the new Finance Minister is merely out of “majboori” (compulsion).
When questioned on Raut’s contentions in Nashik, Ajit Pawar airily laughed and said all these are baseless rumours being spread to create misunderstandings in the government and should not be given credence.
Raut pointed out that after Shine split the Shiv Sena in June 2022, almost all his supporting MLAs had openly blasted Ajit Pawar for short-changing them in the matter of allocation of crucial funds for their constituencies or developmental works.
“Now, again they will be compelled to prostrate before Ajit Pawar and the situation will be clear in the coming days,” smiled Raut.
He reiterated that the BJP will use both the breakaway factions of Shiv Sena and NCP, and then throw them out, as has been done with other parties all over India. Raut’s utterances came a day after Shinde reshuffled his cabinet in which six major portfolios of the BJP and three held by the Shiv Sena were ostensibly “sacrificed” to accommodate the nine new NCP entrants.
The NCP leaders who have been given new responsibilities are Chhagan Bhujbal – Food and Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection, Dilip Walse-Patil – Co-operation and Hasan M. Mushrif – Medical Education and Special Assistance. The others are: Dharmarao Baba Bhagwantrao Atram (Food and Drug Administration), Dhananjay P. Munde (Agriculture), Anil Patil (Relief and Rehabilitation, Disaster Management), Sanjay Baburao Bansode (Sports & Youth Welfare and Ports), while the sole woman in the cabinet Aditi Sunil Tatkare is allocated Women & Child Development.