Being 3rd largest party in NDA, Shiv Sena deserved Cabinet berth in Modi govt: MP Barne

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Pune, Jun 10 (PTI) Shrirang Barne, an MP of Shiv Sena led by Eknath Shinde, on Monday expressed disappointment over the party not getting a Cabinet berth in the newly-formed Narendra Modi-led government and alleged partiality.

Notably, the NCP led by Ajit Pawar, which is also part of the BJP-led Mahayuti alliance in Maharashtra, on Sunday insisted on a Cabinet berth and refused to settle for a Minister of State offer.

Barne, who retained the Maval seat for the third time by defeating Sanjog Waghere Patil of Shiv Sena (UBT), pointed out that despite Shiv Sena winning seven seats in the recent Lok Sabha elections, the party was only allotted a Minister of State (MOS) position in the Modi 3.0 government.

Barne said even leaders like HD Kumaraswamy and Jitan Ram Manjhi whose parties won two and one seats, respectively, were made Union cabinet ministers.

He mentioned that Udayanraje Bhosale, the BJP MP from Satara, deserved a cabinet position as well.

"We were expecting that Shiv Sena would get a Cabinet ministry, but even parties that won only one seat received Cabinet berths. For example, HD Kumaraswamy of JD(S), whose two MPs got elected, secured two berths, and Jitan Ram Manjhi, who won one seat from Bihar, was also given a Cabinet berth," Barne told reporters.

Prataprao Jadhav of Shinde Sena was the sole representation in the new Modi government who took oath as a Minister of State with independent charge on Sunday.

Barne added that Shiv Sena had won seven seats in Maharashtra of the 15 contested, whereas BJP bagged nine of 28.

"We were expecting at least one Cabinet and one MOS berth for Shiv Sena which is the oldest ally of BJP," he said.

Alleging partiality in the distribution of Cabinet berths, Barne claimed that after JD(U) and TDP, Shiv Sena is the third largest ally of the BJP.

"Chirag Paswan, whose party won five seats, was also given a Cabinet berth. But Shiv Sena got only one MOS berth. I personally feel that there is partiality against Shiv Sena. Considering that we will face assembly elections together in the next three months, it is expected that Sena should get fair treatment," he added.

He recalled that Eknath Shinde's "bold step" in the state led to the transition of power in Maharashtra.

"Considering all these factors, we expect a justified stance from BJP," Barne added.

Shinde had split Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena and joined the BJP-led government in June 2022 with a bulk of MLAs loyal to him. Subsequently, he took oath as the chief minister.

Six MPs from Maharashtra were inducted into the Modi 3.0 coalition government on Sunday, with the BJP securing four berths and allies Shiv Sena and RPI (A) getting one each.

In the new government, BJP MPs Nitin Gadkari and Piyush Goyal were retained as cabinet ministers. Raksha Khadse, BJP's lone woman MP from Maharashtra, and first-time MP Murlidhar Mohol were sworn in as Ministers of State.

Among BJP's allies, RPI (A) chief Ramdas Athawale was retained as an MoS with independent charge, while Prataprao Jadhav was inducted as an MoS with independent charge.

The NCP led by Deputy CM Ajit Pawar refused the MoS offer, demanding a Cabinet berth for Rajya Sabha member Praful Patel due to his experience. PTI SPK NSK