Opposition parties on Tuesday slammed the Maharashtra government over induction of controversial ministers and non-inclusion of woman legislators in the newly-formed cabinet.
“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 BJP against them earlier were baseless,” said Leader of Opposition and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar.
He added that women have played an important role in the development of a progressive and secular Maharashtra. “Women representatives should have been in the cabinet. It is extremely sad that no woman was part of the cabinet expansion,” said Pawar.
“While we congratulate the newly sworn-in ministers, we expect the portfolio distribution to take place at the earliest. This expansion has happened after a delay of 40 days. We expect that the newly sworn-in ministers will not waste time in accepting felicitations but instead start working on delayed projects and pro-people initiatives at the earliest,” said the NCP leader.
Lok Sabha Member of Parliament and NCP leader Supriya Sule termed non-inclusion of women in the state cabinet as an insult to “women power”. Sule said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi talks about women empowerment and asks women to not only be home-makers but also nation builders. “Not including a single woman is an insult to women power,” she said.
Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant, meanwhile, hit out at the induction of Sanjay Rathod, who had to resign from the Maha Vikas Aghadi government over the suicide of a woman, and Abdul Sattar, whose daughters have been named in connection with alleged malpractices in the teacher eligibility test. He said the BJP is like a washing machine as whoever joins the party comes out clean.
“The BJP is like a washing machine. Whoever joins the party, they come out clean. Fadnavis should answer how the same person, whose resignation he was demanding, can be included in the ministry now,” asked Sawant.
Shiv Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande also took a dig at BJP leader Chitra Wagh, who had raised her voice against Rathod in the past, and said it was unfortunate that there was not a single woman minister in the Shinde-led cabinet.
“Looks like Chitra Wagh, who had demanded the resignation of Rathod and fought for justice for Pooja Chavan, was used by the BJP as per their convenience. First they tarnished the image and now they are giving clean chit to the same person. All those who are going to the BJP are getting clean chits,” said Kayande. She also challenged Wagh to join the Sena if she wanted justice for women.
Congress legislative party leader Balasaheb Thorat said, “I hope the differences between the BJP and Shinde groups are over now. Whether this government is legal or not, it will be decided by the courts. But I wonder why do they not have a woman member in the cabinet. Aren’t they bothered about representation by women? In fact, someone who has committed atrocity against a woman has been included.”
NCP state president Jayant Patil said stories about who wanted to become a minister and who was denied ministerial berth will soon be out. “The BJP has taken along those against whom it worked. I am sure it is not an easy task but they have done it,” taunted Patil.
State Congress chief Nana Patole said, “Cabinet expansion has been done after a delay. The state has sanctioned Rs 6,000 crore for the bullet train to connect Maharashtra with Gujarat. They are doing things to benefit Gujarat, but not helping those suffering due to floods in Maharashtra.”