Mumbai: The Congress unit in Maharashtra is facing discontent over allocation of portfolios, with a section of leaders blaming chief Balasaheb Thorat for the party getting a ‘raw deal’ as compared to the Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in the Uddhav Thackeray-led alliance government.
Their ire is also directed towards NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, who emerged as the key player in the alliance, with a Congress leader claiming that they need someone in the state unit who could stand up to the Maratha strongman.
Thorat, later in the day, brushed off the criticism claiming the portfolios given to the Congress were those connected to the ‘day-to-day issues’ of the common man.
Some Congress leaders said they demanded at least two ministries from the list comprising agriculture, rural development, industries, housing, transport and cooperation, but the allies Shiv Sena and NCP refused to pay heed.
Instead, ministries like culture, salt pan and port development, which were earlier with the Shiv Sena, have been handed over to the Congress.
“The Congress has got a raw deal in power-sharing among the three alliance partners. Thorat has not been able to put forth the Congress’ interest during deliberations on power-sharing,” a senior party leader said on condition of anonymity.
According to sources, Congress leader Nitin Raut, who has been made the Energy Minister, is unhappy over the Public Works Department being given to his senior colleague and former chief minister Ashok Chavan and Thorat being allocated the Revenue Department.
Citing the intensity of bitterness in the Congress ranks and file, a leader said vandalising party office and burning effigy of a party general secretary never happened earlier, and added that ‘such acts of indiscipline need to be taken seriously’.
Meanwhile, a senior party functionary has written to AICC general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal, claiming indiscipline among the party workers.
“Several Congress leaders and workers are unhappy because most of the party decisions are being taken after discussion with NCP supremo Sharad Pawar. This is very dangerous,” the functionary wrote.
As per the allocation of portfolios, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar has got the Finance and Planning Department while party colleague Anil Deshmukh is the state’s new Home minister.
Besides, first-time Shiv Sena MLA Aaditya Thackeray, who is the son of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, has been given the Environment, Tourism and Protocol departments.