"Didn't Feel Right": Ajit Pawar On Minister With Independent Charge Offer

09:59 AM Jun 10, 2024 | PTI |

New Delhi: Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s oath ceremony on Sunday, Nationalist Congress Party chief Ajit Pawar said they did not think it right for their party leader Praful Patel to accept the post Minister of State with independent charge offered by the BJP, since Mr Patel had earlier served as a Cabinet Minister.


“Praful Patel has served as a cabinet minister in the Central government and hence we did not feel right in taking Minister of State with independent charge,” Mr Pawar told reporters.

During the erstwhile UPA government under the leadership of then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Mr Patel was the cabinet minister for the Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises department.

“So we told them (BJP) that we are ready to wait for a few days, but we want a cabinet ministry. They said okay and we junked their offer of Minister of State with independent charge,” the NCP chief said.

Speaking about attending the oath ceremony, Mr Pawar said, “Today we have been called at 7:15 for the oath-taking ceremony and we are going as part of the NDA.”


He said his party reasoned before the BJP leadership that in some months they would have four members in parliament and so they should get a Cabinet berth.

“We met with Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah and Nadda. We spoke about the Lok Sabha results in Maharashtra. During that, we requested that we have one Lok Sabha and one Rajya Sabha member today, but in the next two-three months we will have a total of three 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,” the NCP chief said.

Mr Pawar even pointed out that the BJP leadership accepted their reasoning but later extended the same offer of Minister of State with Independent charge.

“They (BJP) said our demand is valid. But after that we received a message that just like they gave an Independent Charge Minister of State portfolio to the Shinde Sena party, they want to give it to one member,” he said.

Praful Patel said accepting the position of Minister of State with independent charge in the Union Cabinet will be considered a demotion for him, as he was earlier a Cabinet Minister in the Union Government.

“Last night we were informed that our party will get a Minister of State with independent charge. I was earlier a Cabinet Minister in the Union Government, so this will be a demotion for me. We have informed the BJP leadership and they have already told us to just wait a few days, they will take remedial measures,” Patel told reporters.

The BJP dipped to nine seats in Maharashtra against 23 in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The vote share stood at 26.18 per cent. The Congress secured 13 seats in the state, up from one.

The Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) won seven and one seats respectively, taking the total tally of the NDA to 17.

The BJP score this time, 240, was much lower than its 2019 tally of 303 and the 282 seats it won in 2014. The Congress, on the other hand, registered a strong growth, winning 99 seats compared to 52 it won in 2019 and 44 seats of 2014. The INDIA bloc crossed the 230-mark, posing stiff competition, and defying all predictions from exit polls.


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