Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday inducted Maval MLA Sanjay alias Bala Bhegade as a Minister of State (MoS) into the expanded Cabinet, and offered olive branches to MLAs Laxman Jagtap and Mahesh Landge, who were ‘ignored’ in the recent rejig, with a promise of “justice in his next tenure”.
Reportedly, both Jagtap and Landge are “upset” on missing out on a Cabinet berth, but were not contemplating on any drastic move, their associates said.
The chief minister had apparently called up Jagtap and Landge early Sunday morning to pacify them over their non-inclusion into the Cabinet.
Landge’s brother Kartik told The Indian Express, “The CM called up Mahesh dada around 6.30 am. He said he wanted to include either of them, but since both were eager, he could not (include them).” However, the CM promised that after the upcoming elections, he would include one of them in the ministry, Kartik said.
Kartik said both Jagtap and Landge have resolved their dispute. “Mahesh dada told the CM that if Jagtap is made a Cabinet minister, he will have no problem. Pimpri-Chinchwad should get representation, that is what he told the CM,” he said, while denying reports that his brother was planning to quit
the BJP. “No question of quitting… we will remain with the BJP,” he said. Currently, Landge is an associate MLA of the BJP who was elected as an Independent candidate from the Bhosari constituency.
Jagtap, however, refused to comment over the issue. “I won’t like to comment,” he said, when asked why he was once again ignored by the Chief Minister.
BJP general secretary Sarang Kamtekar denied reports that Jagtap and Landge were upset. “The ministry even otherwise would have been for a short term of two-three months. We are sure after BJP-Sena comes to power in the ensuing Assembly elections, Pimpri-Chinchwad will get justice,” he said.
Both Jagtap and Landge, who were asked to lead BJP’s campaign in PCMC polls in 2017, have been waiting to become a minister since they uprooted Sharad Pawar-led NCP from Pimpri-Chinchwad where the party had ruled for over a decade and looked invincible. Jagtap and Landge had both left the NCP to join the BJP. Landge was apparently promised a ministerial berth by the CM during his visit to Chakan this month.
Meanwhile, Bhegade was allocated the portfolio of Minister of State for Labour Environment, Relief and rehabilitation, Earthquake Rehabilitation. He is the second MLA to become a minister from Maval area since 1989 when Congress’s Madan Bafna was inducted as a MoS that year. Bhegade has been elected twice from Maval Assembly constituency and is the senior-most BJP MLA in Pune district.