BJP stumps Shiv Sena by inducting its leader Suresh Prabhu in the union cabinet.
The relation between BJP and Shiv Sena had hit a new low after former Union Minister Suresh Prabhu was inducted into Narendra Modi’s cabinet. Sena was unhappy with the BJP’s decision to offer a ministerial berth to Mr Prabhu and is likely to withdraw its support from the centre. Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray has already convened a meeting to discuss about the future course of action to be taken. The Sena and BJP have been at loggerheads over the portfolio allotment issue with the former demanding the induction of its leaders ahead of the trust vote.
On the other hand, BJP was firm on its stand over allotting portfolios only after it gets a majority in the house. Suresh Prabhu was always known to be in the good books of the BJP and had served as Industry Minister, Minister of Environment and Forests, Minister of Fertilizers & Chemicals, Power, and Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises in the government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Prabhu who also has the backing of Narendra Modi had quit Sena to join the BJP which has further created a standoff between both the parties. Prabhu is likely to become the next Railway Minister and he will replace Sadananda Gowda. His stint as Power Minister won him praise for efficient administration of a key government department. Prabhu has been appointed as Modi’s ‘sherpa’ to assist the Prime Minister at the upcoming G20 summit in Brisbane.
“We have many more experienced and deserving MPs who need to be encouraged. The party is not clear how this will come (Prabhu’s inclusion in the cabinet) from our (Shiv Sena) quota. We are still discussing it and will finalise the decision shortly,” a Shiv Sena leader said.
“It will entirely depend on the outcome of talks for power sharing in Maharashtra. If it does not get resolved amicably and honourably, the party will decide its future strategy accordingly,” the leader said, hinting at snapping ties with the National Democratic Alliance.
In a sign of further escalation of tension between the two former allies, Thackeray forced Sena MP Anil Desai, who was supposed to take oath as a Union Minister, to report back to Mumbai just as he landed in New Delhi.
Anil Desai was expected to be sworn in as a Minister of State, an offer that was not acceptable to Thackeray, who wanted a Cabinet berth for his party in the Sunday reshuffle. But the BJP chose to give that Cabinet post to Suresh Prabhu. Sources said Anant Geete, the only Sena minister in the Union Cabinet, is likely to resign shortly.
Shiv Sena spokesperson Anandrao Adsul said,”Day by day, they have been saying they will settle the issue after 12th (of November when the trust vote will be held in Maharashtra Assembly). If they want to ignore us, we will not accept it.”
The BJP is the largest party in the Assembly, but falls short of 22 seats for a simple majority.