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Left out, some M’rashtra MLAs sore after cabinet expansion

Left out, some M'rashtra MLAs sore after cabinet expansion

Mumbai, Dec 31: A day after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackery expanded his cabinet to its full strength, discontent appeared brewing among sections of the Maha Vikas Aghadi allies on Tuesday.

Several senior leaders and legisaltors of Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress, who feel left out of the cabinet, have been resentful and at least one has threatened to quit as MLA.

NCP’s four-time MLA Prakash Solanke from Majalgaon in Beed threatened to quit his seat late on Monday night, claiming he was disgusted with politics and would only concentrate on social work henceforth.

However, on Tuesday evening, Solanke announced he has decided to continue as a legislator after speaking with the party leaders.

Minister Dhananjay Munde endorsed his view, saying that after discussions, Solanke will not quit and work for the party.

Similarly, angry supporters of Congress MLA from Solapur City Central Praniti (Sushilkumar) Shinde also threatened to resign from the party.

However, an unruffled Praniti has said she would speak to them and request them not to quit and all of them would continue to work for the party as before.

Shiv Sena’s Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut, who played a key role in delivering the MVA government, was reportedly sulking as his two-term MLA brother from Mumbai Sunil Raut was not made a minister.

However, both the brothers late on Monday dismissed speculation and said there was nothing amiss, and that the party was above any post.

Several senior Sena men such as Ramdas Kadam, Ravindra Waikar, Diwakar Raote, Deepak Kesarkar and Tanaji Sawant — all ex-ministers — were also dropped this time.

Sanjay Raut attributed this to the limited choices before the party and its inclination to give chance to new and younger faces in the government.

“During cabinet expansion, there are many aspirants and there is also some discontent,” said Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on a sympathetic note.

There is speculation that former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan is also in a foul mood after he was overlooked for both the Speaker’s post and a cabinet berth. But there are indications he may in the reckoning for the post of state party chief as the incumbent, Balasaheb Thorat, is now a Cabinet minister.

Other smaller allies such as Swabhiman Shetkari Sanghatana were also upset that they had been overlooked for at least one ministerial post by the bigger MVA partners.

A Sena leader told IANS late on Monday that there was no need for any of the MVA legislators to panic if they have missed a chance to join the state cabinet.

“There are many other opportunities to serve in the government, including 75 major state corporations and other important bodies where they could be accommodated, many coming with even ministerial status,” said the leader, requesting anonymity.

On Monday, Thackeray expanded his Cabinet to induct 36 new ministers, including 10 Ministers of State rank, besides six sworn-in earlier, to take the total strength to 43, (inclusive of the CM).