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Modi 3.0 Cabinet: Why did NCP leader Praful Patel reject BJP’s offer to make him a Minister of State?

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) turned down the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) offer to accommodate party leader Praful Patel as a minister of state (MoS)with independent charge in the new National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

Six ministers from Maharashtra were inducted into the ministry, which was sworn in on Sunday. BJP MPs Nitin Gadkari, Piyush Goyal (cabinet ministers), Raksha Khadse and Murlidhar Mohol (both Minister of State); RPI (A) chief Ramdas Athawale (MoS with independent charge), and Shiv Sena leader Prataprao Jadhav (MoS with independent charge) were among the leaders given a cabinet berth.

However, no leader from the NCP, the BJP’s ally in Maharashtra found a place in the council of ministers.

The NCP, the BJP, and Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena are part of the Mahayuti, the coalition that rules Maharashtra. Praful Patel, NCP chief Ajit Pawar, and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis reacted to the development as the PM Modi-led new cabinet swore on Sunday.

Why did NCP’s Praful Patel reject BJP’s MoS offer

Patel believed that accepting the position of Minister of State with independent charge in the Union Cabinet would be a “demotion”.

“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,” Patel said on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Deputy CM and 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.”

ALSO READ: ‘Did I go anywhere?’ Sharad Pawar reacts to Praful Patel’s claim that he was ’50% ready’ to go with BJP in 2023’

He said the NCP has 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 four. So we said we should be given one (cabinet ministry) seat,” he was quoted by news agency PTI as saying.

What’s next?

Ajit Pawar told reporters on Sunday that the party is ready to wait for a few days but  would prefer to get a cabinet ministry. “…we told them (BJP) that we are ready to wait for a few days, but we want a cabinet ministry,” Pawar said. Patel also contended that the BJP told them to just wait a few days, “they will take remedial measures.”

How BJP reacted?

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that in the coalition government, certain criteria are fixed for the post of minister, and those criteria cannot be changed for one party.

“The NCP was offered an independent charge (MoS) minister post by us. Praful Patel’s name was also final. NCP leaders were of the opinion that he could not be made a state minister,” Fadnavis said.

He added, “In the coalition government, certain criteria are fixed for the post of minister, and those criteria cannot be changed for one party. So this time, he could not be included in the Union Cabinet. But he will be considered in the future.”

‘BJP their power reduced’

Rohit Pawar, who is from the NCP’s Sharadchandra Pawar bloc, said that Ajit Pawar has lost his utility to the BJP. He told ANI, “Those who go (Ajit Pawar) with BJP their power reduced…BJP wants to give a message that they did not benefit from them in the Lok Sabha…Praful Patel has benefitted the most in all this…The smartest person with Ajit Pawar is Praful Patel…”

All party MPs and MLAs today in Maharashtra

In the wake of the upheaval over the cabinet post, Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena chief Eknath Shinde will hold a meeting with all party MPs and MLAs Monday evening.

The meeting with all MLAs will be held at 6 pm with all MPs at 7 pm at Varsha Bungalow.

BJP-led National Democratic Alliance won its third successive term in results of Lok Sabha polls declared on June 4. The NDA won 293 seats in the Lok Sabha polls with BJP getting 240 seats.

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Published: 10 Jun 2024, 09:53 AM IST

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