Maharashtra Cabinet reshuffle: Pankaja Munde tweets a headache for CM Fadnavis
Indicates she was not kept in loop before being divested of 2 important portfolios; supporters burn CM effigy in Beed
The Cabinet reshuffle by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis late Saturday night has triggered a fresh crisis for the state BJP, with senior minister Pankaja Munde making her displeasure public over losing two significant portfolios.
Mundeâ€™s supporters also staged demonstrations against the chief minister. In Beed, her native place, some BJP office-bearers and workers burnt Fadnavisâ€™s effigy, protesting against the â€œinjusticeâ€ meted out to their leader.
The reshuffle saw Munde being stripped of the important water conservation and Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) portfolios, both of which are drivers of the governmentâ€™s flagship Jalyukt Shivar scheme for drought mitigation. Signalling that she was not consulted before being divested of the portfolios, Munde used social media to air her displeasure.
Incidentally, Vinod Tawde, another minister who was impacted by the reshuffle, said Fadnavis had consulted him before divesting him of the medical education portfolio. The office of senior BJP minister Prakash Mehta, who was divested of labour and mines portfolios, too confirmed that he had been kept in the loop.
The portfolios were announced around 11.30 pm Saturday after Fadnavis checked in at the Mumbai airport for his three-day official trip to Russia. It was around midnight when Munde fired her first volley, indicating that she had been kept in the dark. She tweeted, â€œReaching Singapore tomorrow (Sunday). On Monday, there is World Water Leaders Summit. I was invited but wonâ€™t attend since Iâ€™m not the minister incharge.â€
Three hours later, Fadnavis, who was on board his flight, responded to her tweet, asking her to attend the event. â€œOf course you must attend WLS 2016. As a senior minister you would be representing â€˜The Government of Maharashtraâ€™.â€
Sources said the CMO had tried to contact Munde on her phone to placate her but could not. Fadnavis then opted to respond on Twitter.
Mundeâ€™s subsequent tweet, which came around 7 am Sunday, took a veiled dig at the CM on denial of credit for Jalyukt Shivar. She congratulated cabinet ministers Ram Shinde and Jaykumar Rawal, who will now head the water conservation and the EGS departments, respectively.
â€œGood luck, Ram Shinde and Jaykumar Rawal. Iâ€™m happy you got very important departmentsâ€¦ Jalyukt Shivar is at the peak, u will tk it as passion n mission,â€ she tweeted.
Sources said both Shinde and Rawal were handpicked by Fadnavis.
The Munde camp alleged that the move to divest her of the portfolios was to deprive her of the credit for implementation of projects under the Jalyukt Shivar, a contention the CMO denied.
â€œShe (Munde) toiled hard for implementation of various water conservation initiatives under the Jalyukt Shivar scheme when the state was battling a severe drought. Now just as the positive results of the drive are showing, she has been stripped of the portfolios,â€ said a close aide of Munde.
Meanwhile, Tawde told The Indian Express, â€œI do not understand why the media is saying my wings have been clipped. In fact, the CM has entrusted the responsibility of the important minorities development and wakf department to me, which only shows his confidence in me.â€
â€œGirish Mahajan (BJP minister) has experience in the medical education field, and wanted to run the department. The CM consulted me if I was okay with handing over the charge to him, to which I consented. Iâ€™m sure Mahajan will do a good job with the department,â€ he said.
Source byÂ indianexpress….