The wait for BJP senior Girish Bapat, a five-term MLA from Kasba Peth is over. He has finally been given a cabinet berth in the Devendra Fadnavis government and said he is likely to take charge of Parliamentary Affairs portfolio. Bapat is the second minister from the city after Pune Cantonment MLA Dilip Kamble in the Fadnavis ministry. Kamble is a minister of state.
Bapat, whose voice has carried the city’s concerns to the House on Friday said he was exhilarated at having finally got a ministerial berth and has promised to continue to take up Pune’s issues on priority. “I have been regularly voicing concerns of Pune and will focus on traffic, ring road, Metro train and garbage. I have been regularly raising these issues and having got a ministerial berth, I will focus on issues of Pune,” said Bapat.
When asked what portfolio he was likely to get, he said it could be Parliamentary Affairs ministry.
Bapat was earlier expected to make it to the first list of ministers, being among the most senior leaders of the party in the state. Bapat had said he hoped to make it in the first expansion.
It is for the first time in 20 years that Pune city has seen a cabinet minister. Kothrud MLA Shashikant Sutar was the last leader to became a cabinet minister in the BJP-Sena government when the parties were in power in 1995. Bapat, who is known to raise issues in the House was earlier slated to be the Assembly Speaker. With his experience in functioning of the House and the government, he was made chairman of the public accounts committee in the Vidhan Sabha workers said it was known that Bapat was more keen on a cabinet berth than being Speaker.