In the wake of Eknath Shinde government in Maharashtra adding 18 ministers to the state Cabinet on Tuesday, Leader of Opposition and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar has said that the inclusion of his former colleagues from the Maha Vikas Aghadi led by Uddhav Thackeray into the Cabinet has proved that the allegations levelled against them by the then Opposition BJP were baseless.
“While we congratulate the newly-sworn in ministers, we expect that the portfolio distribution should take place at the earliest. This expansion has happened after a delay of 40 days. We expect that the newly sworn-in ministers do not waste time in accepting felicitations but instead start working on delayed projects and engaging in pro-people work at the earliest,” Pawar said on Tuesday.
“I am happy that many of our former colleagues are now part of the new Cabinet. But it also proves that the allegations made by the then BJP against them were baseless,” he said. Pawar added that women have played an important role in the development of progressive and secular Maharashtra. “There should have been women representatives in the Cabinet. It is extremely sad that no woman is part of the Cabinet expansion,” he said.
Lok Sabha MP Supriya Sule of the NCP, while congratulating CM Eknath Shinde and Devendra Fadnavis over the Cabinet expansion, said that the exclusion of women in the Cabinet is an insult to women power. “It is unfortunate that not a single woman has been included in the ministry,” Sule said, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself talks about women’s empowerment and asks women to not only be homemakers but also nation builders.
The oath-taking ceremony took place at the Raj Bhavan in the presence of Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.
Facing criticism for not including women in the Cabinet expansion, CM Shinde indicated that another round of Cabinet expansion is likely to take place in September and said “justice would be made to all”.
Rebel Shiva Sena MLA Abul Sattar who was also sworn in as minister on Tuesday said that women would become ministers in the next Cabinet expansion.