Mumbai : Shiv Sangram leader Vinayak Mete, who is also chairman of the Shiv Smarak Committee, entrusted with construction of the grand Shivaji Memorial in the Arabian Sea, is learnt to have threatened to resign after he did not find any place in Friday’s cabinet expansion.
Mete, who was recently re-elected to the Legislative Council, did not turn up for the special session of the council, wherein new members were administered oath. Repeated efforts to contact him failed and sources close to him said that he might resign from the chairmanship of the Shiv Smarak committee and also may resign as the MLC. His long time close confident and BJP MLA from Versova, Bharti Lavekar, to might resign along with him, the sources said. Earlier in the day, after skipping the Legislative Council session, Mete told the electronic media that CM has ignored him and his community.
Sources in the BJP, however, denied the possibility of Mete resigning from the committee chairmanship. They also pointed out that the committee chairman enjoys the status of cabinet minister.
Meanwhile, there were several firsts in the special session of Legislative Council on Friday. The Council House is never dissolved and either the Chairman or the Deputy Chairman of the house is always available to run the business of the house. But, that was not the case today. Deputy Chairman Vasant Dawkhare’s tenure ended on June 8, when he lost the election from Thane local body constituency, while Chairman Nimbalkar’s term ended on Thursday. The Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao then nominated PWP member Jayant Patil as the Protem Chairman, who carried out the business of the house till Nimbalkar was officially elected back to the post.
Posts of Chairman, Deputy Chairman and the Leader of Opposition were all held by NCP leaders till last month and end of their terms also coincided. This too happened for the first time in the history of the House.
Khadse’s resignation necessitated appointment of new leader of the house. Chandrakant Patil, who is serving his second term in the House became the Leader of the House on Friday. A member of the House has become the Leader of the House for the first time in almost past 20 years. Election of Chairman and appointment of Leader of the House and the Leader of Opposition too happened on the very same day for the first time.
No quality in expansion: Chavan
The Congress too did not attend the swearing in ceremony of the new ministers on Friday. When asked about the reason for them not participating in the ceremony, MPCC chief Ashok Chavan said, “We were not too keen on participating in the event because there was no quality in the expansion. Maharashtra will not benefit in any way from this expansion. The BJP is only indulging in ‘Apna saath apna vikas’. This was a quantitative expansion, not a qualitative one.”
Adds corrupt ministers: Malik
The expansion has added more corrupt ministers to the cabinet, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said while reacting to the ceremony that was attended by some of his party leaders like Dhananjay Munde and Sunil Tatkare. “Today’s exercise has added five corrupt ministers to the cabinet. Jaikumar Rawal is facing inquiry in cooperative bank scam, Sambhaji Patil-Nilangekar too is facing inquiry into Rs 40 crore district cooperative bank scam, Gulabrao Patil was recently arrested for forgery and extortion, Fundkar too is facing charges in a bank scam and Ravindra Chavan, who recently likened Dalits to pigs, has 12 cases of extortion, kidnapping and intimidation against him,” Malik said. Fadnavis government is giving protection to the corrupts and the corruption, he added.
Didn’t demand Cabinet berth: Uddhav
A day after the firm denial by the BJP to give in to the Shiv Sena’s demand of an additional cabinet berth, Shiv Sena party president Uddhav Thackeray, who skipped the swearing in ceremony of his party colleagues on Friday, said that he never demanded an additional cabinet berth and the cabinet expansion is being carried out as per the original seat sharing formula. “There is no need to think of any weird reason as to why I did not go for the (swearing in) ceremony. What needs to be remembered is that when the Sena joined the government, we had made a particular formula. According to that, we have got the two MoS berths. That was the assurance given to us then (by the BJP) which was fulfilled,” Thackeray said while trying to downplay the episode.