Resentment in Maha Vikas Aghadi over Cabinet expansion as Congress MLA's supporters vandalise party office in Pune

Supporters of Sangram Thopte, the Congress MLA from Bhor had staged demonstrations on Monday when it was revealed that Thopte was not included in the state cabinet.

Published: 31st December 2019 10:58 PM  |   Last Updated: 31st December 2019 10:58 PM   |  A+A-

Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi

Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi. (Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS)

Express News Service

MUMBAI: A day after cabinet expansion in Maharashtra, voices of resentment in all the three parties of the ruling coalition are growing stronger. Worst hit is the Congress, as supporters of a local MLA vandalised the party's office in Pune on Tuesday.

Supporters of Sangram Thopte, the Congress MLA from Bhor had staged demonstrations on Monday when it was revealed that Thopte was not included in the state cabinet. As the state party leadership failed to pacify the agitated leader, the aggrieved supporters went violent and vandalised the party office in Pune city.

"A group of party workers ransacked the Congress House near Pune Municipal Corporation and raised slogans against the leadership," said police.

The vandalizing of the party office came on the day when all the Congress ministers from the state had gone to Delhi to meet party's interim President Sonia Gandhi and former chief Rahul Gandhi. 

According to party sources, while those who couldn't secure space in the state cabinet, and several of them are senior party leaders, are upset due to that, a rift has also broken out within the party over the allocation of portfolios.

In Solapur, a youth Congress leader wrote a letter to party president Sonia Gandhi in his blood over non-induction of three-time MLA Praniti Shinde, daughter of Congress veteran Sushilkumar Shinde, into the cabinet. 

Also, a Congress corporator resigned from the Solapur Municipal Corporation. A senior leader in Mumbai questioned the contribution and integrity of MLAs Aslam Sheikh and Vishwajit Kadam who were inducted into the new Cabinet.

"Why was Sangram Thopte being sidelined when the fact is that he is senior to Kadam?" the leader asked.

Former minister and senior Congress leader Naseem Khan admitted of resentment.

"It is true that there is unrest in the party rank and file over the choice of ministers from the Congress quota (in the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government). There is a feeling that loyalists have been sidelined. I hope the party's central leadership will take note of the issue," he said.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, however, tried to underplay the resentment within the ruling parties.

"There is always some amount of resentment after cabinet expansion. However, we are confident that it will be contained," he said after successfully containing rebellion of NCP MLA from Beed district, Prakash Solanke, who had announced that he will resign on Tuesday, saying he was "unworthy to do politics".

"If (State Congress Chief) Balasaheb Thorat returns from Delhi in time, we, Thorat, me and Thackeray, would meet in the night to finalize portfolio allocation," Pawar said.

Everything is properly charted out. There might be a few minor changes and hence it would be easier to negotiate, he added.

Several Sena leaders too expressed disapproval over party seniors and former ministers not finding a place.

Thackeray has dropped several ministers, including seniors like Ramdas Kadam, Diwakar Raote and Ravindra Waikar who were part of the previous BJP-led government, in the new government.

Senior leader from Konkan, Bhaskar Jadhav, who had quit NCP to join Sena ahead of assembly polls, said on Tuesday that the promises made to him by the Sena leadership were not kept, while in Solapur, despite Sena leader's appeal to their workers to maintain discipline, a district functionary of the party, Shaila Godse, resigned over non-induction of former minister from the region, Tanaji Sawant. Former minister and Party leader Ramdas Kadam too is reportedly contemplating quitting the party leaders' post, sources have said. 

Earlier in the day, senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said the party had to accommodate allies who supported the Thackeray-led party after the state Assembly poll results were announced on October 24.

"We had to give a chance to new faces as well," he said.


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