Finally, the major ruling party of Maharashtra government, Shiv Sena has confessed that there was a war between senior leaders of the three ruling alliance parties for key Cabinet berths.
"The Cabinet expansion was, indeed, delayed but it finally happened. There were some sparks of disappointment from those who could not make the cut, but the list of probables was huge," the Shiv Sena said in its news paper ‘Saamna’.
In an untoward incident, angry over denial of a ministerial berth to Congress’s Pune MLA Sangram Thopte, his angry supporters barged into the Congress party office in Shivaji Nagar, shouted slogans and vandalised property on Tuesday evening.
Sena took a dim view of some people vandalising the Congress office in Pune to protest against non-inclusion of party MLA Sangram Thopte in the ministry. The Congress used to call Shiv Sena's protests as 'rada culture' (hooliganism), but what Thopte's alleged supporters did was exactly the same, Shiv Sena said. This does not suit the "Congress culture", an editorial in Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana' said.
The editorial did not forget to snub at BJP for the crisis over the distribution of the portfolios. It said the opposition (BJP) may be "bubbling" over such developments, but even the previous Devendra Fadnavis government was no exception to such discontent during its Cabinet expansions.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led party also said it kept its word by inducting three Independents, who extended support to the Shiv Sena, unlike the Congress and NCP. "A strong and experienced Cabinet is in power, it should be allowed to function," the Sena said.
Some MLAs could not be inducted as ministers because the list of "probables" was huge. On Shiv Sena MLA Bhaskar Jadhav expressing "shock" over his exclusion from the ministry, the Marathi daily said Cabinet berth was "not promised" to anyone, including Jadhav, who joined the Thackeray-led party after quitting the NCP.
"Jadhav claimed Thackeray promised to make him Cabinet minister. As per our information, no such promise was made to him. Thackeray must have asked him to join the Sena ahead of the Assembly polls and be part of the government," it said.
The Shiv Sena 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 following the state Assembly polls held in October last year.
Noting that there was a tussle over portfolio distribution, the Shiv Sena said senior Congress leader and former chief minister Ashok Chavan, who has been inducted into the state Cabinet, needs a ministry like 'revenue'. But the ministry is currently with another Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat, it pointed out.
Another Congress hopeful was three-time MLA Praniti Shinde, whose supporter wrote a letter in blood to party chief Sonia Gandhi, claiming that Shinde and her father worked hard for the party and always remained loyal to the leadership. Praniti Shinde, the MLA from Solapur, is the daughter of veteran Congressman and former Maharashtra chief minister and Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde.
"Her father could become chief minister and Union home minister because of the Gandhi family and the Congress," the Sena claimed.