Discontent seems to be brewing not just among the allies of Shiv Sena in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra but within the party as well.
According to reports, Shiv Sena leader Abdul Sattar has resigned as a minister as he was unhappy over not being given a more prominent position in the Maharashtra Cabinet.
Sattar, a former two-term Congress MLA, had joined the Shiv Sena ahead of the Assembly polls in Maharashtra. He had resigned as Congress MLA before the 2019 general elections and helped the then BJP state president Raosaheb Danve, who won from Jalna Lok Sabha constituency.
However, Shiv Sena and Abdul Sattar’s family have rejected his resignation reports.
The leader’s son Sameer Sattar said that he has no information on his father’s decision, adding that he was trying to reach his father for more details.
Sena MP Sanjay Raut said that there has been no official confirmation on the same adding that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will speak to Abdul Sattar in this regard.
Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde said the party has not received his resignation.
“Whenever cabinet expansion is taken up, some leaders are left disappointed over not getting the position of their choice. But they should understand that this is a government of the Maha Vikas Agadi and not Shiv Sena,” he further said, adding that Abdul Sattar was included in the cabinet “even though he came from outside”.
The lone Muslim face of Sena among the four Muslims in the cabinet, Sattar, a legislator from Sillod (Aurangabad) was sworn-in as an MoS when Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray expanded his cabinet on December 30.
Since the past one week, the top leaders of the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance of Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress are engaged in finalizing the cabinet portfolios.
As the finalisation of the much-anticipated cabinet portfolios allocation reaches its zenith, there were internal reports that many departments from the Congress quota would be changed or swapped among various ministers, including the PWD ministry, creating heartburns among many.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government led by Uddhav Thackeray was formed on November 28.
Balasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut of the Congress, Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai of the Shiv Sena and Jayant Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal of the NCP took oath along with Thackeray on November 28. It was expanded to its full strength on December 30.
Amid growing discontent among sections of the Maha Vikas Aghadi allies, the Shiv Sena has admitted that there was a tussle among senior leaders of the three ruling alliance parties in Maharashtra for key Cabinet berths, and said that some MLAs could not be inducted as ministers because the list of “probables” was huge.
Earlier on Tuesday, Congress ministers accompanied by Mallikarjun Kharge, KC Venugopal and party secretary Ashish Dua, met Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and apparently talked about the dissent.
The Congress in the state has been facing internal differences with some senior leaders saying that they have been ignored in the cabinet expansion.
However, it is not just the Congress leaders who are upset with the Cabinet expansion.
NCP’s four-time MLA Prakash Solanke from Majalgaon in Beed had threatened to quit his seat late on Monday night, claiming he was disgusted with politics and would only concentrate on social work henceforth.
Shiv Sena’s Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut – who played a monumental role in delivering the MVA government – was allegedly sulking as his two-term MLA brother from Mumbai Sunil Raut was not made a minister.
However, both the brothers have dismissed all media speculation and said there was nothing amiss, and that the party was above any post.
The Shiv Sena had 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.