Sena targets Cong, NCP veterans in Saamana

Sena targets Cong, NCP veterans in Saamana

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Shiv Sena leader Aditya Thackeray. (PTI Photo)

In what appears to be a dig at senior Congress and NCP leaders, the Shiv Sena on Monday said that old guards are not ready to give up ministerial berths for the new generation.

The comments came in the editorial of Saamana, the mouthpiece of Shiv Sena, on Monday, a week ahead of the possible Cabinet expansion to be undertaken by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who heads the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress coalition, better known as Maha Vikas Aghadi.

Though the editorial does not make any direct reference, it names two senior Congressmen Prithviraj Chavan and Ashok Chavan and NCP veteran Ajit Pawar, who is former deputy chief minister, among others as being the frontrunners.

From the side of Saamana, whose Executive Editor is Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha member and spokesperson Sanjay Raut, this is the first big criticism of top MVA leaders.

The editorial highlighted the need for coming out of the psyche that one should get only a lucrative portfolio in the government to serve the state or country.

The editorial expressed surprise at Thackeray, the CM, and Shiv Sena president, for not keeping the key Home department with himself. It needs to be mentioned here that Thackeray’s predecessor Devendra Fadnavis was in-charge of the Home ministry.

“It will be a trapeze act to incorporate Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan during Cabinet expansion and reallocation of portfolios... NCP heavyweights like Ajit Pawar, Dilip Walse Patil, Rajesh Tope, Nawab Malik and others are also in the contention for ministerial berths,” it said.

Stated the editorial: “The Shiv Sena, too, will have to pick leaders among its old hands and youths. It is expected that fresh faces come into Maharashtra’s politics... but the old guards are not ready to let go of chairs for youngsters,” it said, adding that “big people” need to come out of the illusion that Maharashtra or the government cannot do without them.”

The Sena alleged that the previous Fadnavis government ensured its sustainability through the Home department and the BJP’s growth through the Urban Development department.

“It (BJP) used the Home department as if it was its own employee and party workers... but the government has changed now. The CM (Thackeray) has not kept much for himself and allocated portfolios with rather a generosity. Hope the Nagpur session is successful! It definitely will be,” it said.

Uddhav was sworn in as CM on 28 November along with six Cabinet ministers, two each from Sena, NCP and Congress and the portfolios were divided and allotted on 12 December. The Cabinet expansion is slated for 22 or 23 November, after the winter session of Maharashtra legislature, that began in Nagpur on Monday.

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