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Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022

Opposition leaders, BJP’s Chitra Wagh slam inclusion of two ministers under cloud in Shinde Cabinet

While Sanjay Rathod had resigned from the MVA government following allegations of complicity in the death of TikTok star Pooja Chavan, the names of Abdul Sattar’s daughters were among the list of candidates debarred over alleged involvement in the TET scam.

Mumbai news, mumbai politics, maharashtra newsSince the rebellion by Eknath Shinde and 39 other MLAs from Shiv Sena, both the factions led by Shinde and Uddhav Thackeray have been embroiled in a tussle in the court. (File Photo)

Even as the two-member Cabinet in Maharashtra – of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis – was expanded Tuesday, the inclusion of two “controversial” MLAs in the Cabinet has drawn flak not only from the Opposition but also from a BJP leader. The expanded ministry now includes 18 more Cabinet members, but no woman minister.

Sanjay Rathod and Abdul Sattar, who had served as ministers in the previous Uddhav Thackeray-led government, were sworn in as Cabinet ministers on Tuesday by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari in Mumbai.

Rathod had resigned from the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in February last year following allegations of complicity in the death of Beed resident TikTok star Pooja Chavan, 23. Chavan had died after falling from a building in Pune earlier that month.

Abdul Sattar found himself in the dock after the names of his two daughters surfaced among the list of candidates debarred by the Maharashtra State Council for Exams (MSCE) over alleged involvement in the Teachers’ Eligibility Test (TET) scam.

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While Rathod refused to comment, Sattar said he had demanded a probe into the controversy. “I will expose those who tried to defame me and my family,” he said.

Reacting to the developments, Opposition leader Ajit Pawar told a TV channel, “It is good that after 40 days Maharashtra will finally have a ministry in place. The state is besieged with several problems and there was a pressing need for the ministers to take charge. However, the inclusion of some names could have been avoided, especially those who have not received the clean chit as yet.”

In a video message, BJP leader Chitra Wagh, who had protested with the demand to arrest Rathod in the Pooja Chavan case, said, “It is unfortunate that Sanjay Rathod has been included in the Cabinet. Our fight to seek justice for our sister Pooja Chavan will continue… I have full faith in our justice delivery system.”

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Meanwhile, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said, “Sanjay Rathod had received a clean chit from the police during the previous regime and that is why he was included in the ministry. If anyone has anything to say about this, we will hear them out.”

Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant also criticised the induction of Rathod as “double standards” practised by the BJP. “Looks like the BJP has a washing machine that cleans everything. Fadnavis should answer how can a person whose resignation he had demanded be included in the ministry,” Sawant told The Indian Express.

Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande too slammed the BJP’s “double standards”. “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 a clean chit to the same person. All those who are going to the BJP are getting clean chits,” Kayande told The Indian Express, adding that it is unfortunate that there is no space for any woman in the state Cabinet.

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“If Chitra Wagh really wants to fight against Rathod and give justice to Pooja, she should join hands with the Shiv Sena and fight. We will provide all help to her, but tweeting alone won’t help much,” Kayande said.

First published on: 09-08-2022 at 01:35:22 pm
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