With Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant being allotted the heavy industries and public enterprise portfolio in the Narendra Modi Cabinet, while the party’s official stand is that it is happy with what it has got, insiders claimed that Sena had set its eyes on three posts in the Cabinet.
The Sena, which is the second biggest constituent of the NDA after the BJP, has been part of three BJP-led Union governments so far. And in every government, it has been allotted the heavy industries ministry.
Maintaining that heavy industries is an important department, Sena MP Sanjay Raut said: “There are many departments whose makeover is a challenge. So many programmes have been initiated by the PM, like ‘Make in India’ and ‘Start Up India’, which are related to the ministry. A lot of work is to be done and we will see how things go from here.”
However, a party leader said: “We had showed our displeasure in 2014 when we were allotted the heavy industries ministry. Despite that, the BJP has allotted the same ministry to us again. We are hoping that the party will get better portfolios when the Cabinet is expanded in the future.”
In the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, the Sena had initially been allotted two ministries — chemicals & fertilizers and heavy industries. It was later handed the prestigious power ministry.
In 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had decided to allot the heavy industries yet again to the Sena. The move had upset the party leadership and Anant Geete, who was the Sena’s representative in the Cabinet, had taken his time in taking charge of the ministry. The party had also been alloted a minister of state post, but it preferred to let go of it because it was miffed that it was not a full Cabinet post. By then, Sena’s relations with the BJP in Maharashtra had also begun unraveling.
After patching up its relations with the BJP in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, the Sena was hoping that it would get important portfolios in the new government, said party sources.
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