Pune, June 13: Maharashtra BJP today said that recent reshuffle of NCP ministers carried “stamp” of deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar who outsmarted his uncle and party chief Sharad Pawar in picking members of his choice.
“The reshuffle carried a stamp of Ajit Pawar with induction of his supporters and the NCP showed no intent to remove tainted ministers as they are left untouched,” Maharashtra BJP president Devendra Fadnavis told reporters.
The state unit BJP chief alleged that Sharad Pawar and his nephew were at loggerheads and recent assertion of the NCP chief that 2014 elections would be fought under his leadership was indicative of the ongoing tussle between the two. “Resignations of 19 NCP ministers collected was much ado about nothing as it did not spell any cleansing process involving those facing charges of corruption including Chhagan Bhujbal,” he said referring to the reshuffle that is viewed as a tame affair.
Fadnavis denied that the Pune unit of the party was ridden with factionalism between two groups owing allegiance to senior party leaders Nitin Gadkari and Gopinath Munde. He refuted that recently-appointed city unit president Anil Shirole belonged to the Munde group. Asked about a possible conflict of interest between Shirole and city BJP MLA Girish Bapat ---- both of whom have expressed their desire to contest the Pune Lok Sabha seat ---, Fadnavis said the party parliamentary board would take a decision if such a situation arose.
“None of them have told me about this”, he added. Five NCP and an Independent legislator, were inducted as ministers in the Maharashtra government as part of the reshuffle.
While Madhukar Pichad and Shashikant Shinde of NCP and Dilip Sopal (independent) were inducted as cabinet ministers, Suresh Dhas, Uday Samant and Sanjay Savkhare as Ministers of State.
Among the new entrants, Dhas and Shinde are believed to be close to Ajit Pawar.