Narayan Rane was inducted in the Union cabinet only to attack the Shiv Sena, the party claimed on Thursday, also alleging that the purpose of creating a new ministry of cooperation was to "harass" the sector which has strong presence in Maharashtra.
Rane, a former Sena leader who left the party over 16 years ago, took oath as minister in the Narendra Modi government on Wednesday.
Sena's chief spokesperson Arvind Sawant said that after taking charge of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Ministry, Rane's first comments were against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
"He said nothing about his portfolio and what he proposed to do for the MSME sector," said Sawant, a former Union minister himself.
Rane reportedly said that Thackeray, who heads the Sena, was not large hearted enough to congratulate him on becoming a Union minister.
"He has been inducted in the Union cabinet only to attack the Sena without fulfilling any other responsibility, " Sawant said.
In a dig at Rane's portfolio, Sawant said, "For Maharashtra, this is improvement of sorts, from 'heavy' to 'micro'."
Sena had handled the heavy industries portfolio when it was part of the BJP-led NDA.
On a question about whether Rane can cause any harm to the Sena, Sawant said, “We defeated him twice in assembly polls, once in his stronghold of Malvan (in Konkan region) and in a by-poll in Mumbai (in Bandra).
"The BJP should keep it in mind that the Sena has very close relations with the people from Konkan they will not switch their loyalties," he said.
On the creation of the new Union ministry of cooperation which has been allotted to home minister Amit Shah, Sawant said, “It is just to harass the cooperative sector as it has a strong network in Maharashtra compared to other states."
Leaders of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition in the state, especially those from the NCP, are active in the cooperative sector, he pointed out.