Saturday, June 22, 2024

NCP rejects MoS berth for Praful Patel; “We want cabinet berth, we are ready to wait,” says Ajit Pawar

The Ajit Pawar camp of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), part of the National Democratic Alliance, has expressed disappointment after their request for a Cabinet berth in the new Modi government was not accommodated.

The NCP was instead offered the post of a Minister of State with independent charge, a move that party leader Praful Patel described as a “demotion.”

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis addressed the situation on Sunday, stating, “The Nationalist Congress Party was offered one seat from the government—MoS Independent Charge. But from their side… Praful Patel’s name was finalised, and he was already a minister. Therefore, he would not be able to hold the post of MoS Independent Charge.”

Despite the apparent discontent, the Ajit Pawar faction has shown a willingness to wait.

NCP chief Ajit Pawar said, “Praful Patel has served as a cabinet minister in the central government and we did not feel right in taking Minister of State with independent charge. So we told them (BJP) that we were ready to wait for a few days, but we wanted a cabinet ministry. We are going to attend the swearing-in ceremony today.”

The NCP’s demand for a cabinet ministry seat is underpinned by their expected increase in parliamentary representation. Ajit Pawar highlighted, “We have one Lok Sabha and one Rajya Sabha MP today, but in the next 2-3 months we will have a total of 3 members in the Rajya Sabha and our number of MPs in Parliament will be 4. So we said we should be given one (cabinet ministry) seat.”

In the backdrop of these developments, Devendra Fadnavis emphasised the necessity for adherence to established criteria when forming a government with an alliance, stating, “When a government is formed with an alliance some criteria need to be decided, because several sides are together. But because of one party, the criteria cannot be twisted. But, I am sure that in the future when there will be an expansion at that time they will be remembered.”

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