Ministers unhappy after losing key portfolios.
The recently concluded cabinet expansion drive has upset Pankaja Munde as she has lost the Water Conservation portfolio which has now been awarded to Ram Shinde. Even Vinod Tawde was stripped of the Medical Education Portfolio. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had divested porfolios of Munde and Tawde as both of them had been embroiled in controversies over Chikki scam and fake degree row. Thus CM has clipped the wings of both Munde and Tawde. Earlier Shiv Sangram leader and president of Shivaji Memorial Project Committee, Vinayak Mete was unhappy with the BJP for failing to keep its promise of making him a minister. Mete was elected to the Council last month from the BJP quota. Thus all is not well within the BJP as internal rift is prevalent within the party. Pankaja Munde tweeted saying she would not be attending the World Water Week in Singapore as she no longer holds the water conservation portfolio.
The CM, however, replied to her saying, she should attend it as a senior minister of the state government.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tweeted “Of course you must attend WLS 2016. As a senior Minister you would be representing ‘The Government of Maharashtra’.”
On the other hand, Pankaja’s supporters protested against the BJP government by burning the effigy of Fadnavis at Ahmednagar. They raised slogans against the government. Even youth leaders of the BJP too had participated in the protest. According to them, senior BJP leaders didn’t want Pankaja to take credit for the work done by her while she was holding the Water Conservation portfolio.
Earlier as the water conservation minister, Munde had courted controversy in April by posting a selfie online. She had later said that she posted selfies on her tour of parched Latur on the weekend in appreciation of the work done there by the local administration for drought relief. The opposition had then accused Munde of gross insensitivity. Ms Munde still has the crucial ministries of Rural Development and Women and Child Development.
Pankaja was one of the aspirants among the state BJP leaders for the top post before the Assembly elections, relying on the “public sentiment” following her father’s death in a car crash in June last year. In May 2015, she had said that the people of the state wanted to see her as Chief Minister.
Fadnavis had on July 08 expanded his council of ministers by inducting 10 new faces. The exercise raised the strength of the ministry to 41, of which 27 are from the BJP, 12 from Shiv Sena.