Mumbai (The Hindu): A day after redistribution of portfolios following the induction of 10 new faces in the Maharashtra Cabinet, discontent over the Chief Minister’s decision was out in the open., on social media.
Pankaja Munde, who was stripped of two important ministries, chose to vent her frustration on Twitter. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, on his part, decided to use the same medium to reprimand her.
Ms. Munde, daughter of veteran BJP leader late Gopinath Munde, was divested of the Water Conservation ministry which is now under Ram Shinde, considered close to Mr. Fadnavis. This ministry was implementing Mr. Fadnavis’s pet project — the ‘Jalyukta Shivar’, aimed at increasing water storage and availability for farmers, particularly in the drought-hit areas of the State. Mr. Shinde was elevated from Minister of State to Cabinet rank in Friday’s cabinet expansion.
Currently on a foreign tour, Ms. Munde tweeted at 12.09 a.m. (IST), “Reaching singapore tomorrow on monday there is world water leader summit i was invited but now wont attend since i m not minister incharge.”
Mr. Fadnavis, who last night left on a four-day tour of Russia, tweeted his reply at 2.31 a.m. (IST), “Of course you must attend WLS 2016. As a senior Minister you would be representing 'The Government of Maharashtra'.”
Refusing to acknowledge the CM’s response, Ms Munde tweeted later, “Good luck Ram Shinde n Jaykumar Rawal i m happy u got very imp depts... jalyukta shivar is at peak u wil tk it as passion n mission i m sure.”
While the Twitter war between two ministers of the same party was being played out, supporters of Ms Munde hit the streets in Ahmednagar’s Pathardi where they tried to burn an effigy of Mr. Fadnavis. BJP leaders refused to comment on the incident.
The opposition was quick to pounce on the Twitter exchange. “Social media platform is important, but if it becomes the medium of communication between the CM and his senior minister, then something is amiss. It is a worrying fact as a citizen of this state,” said Sanjay Dutt, Congress leader and Member of the Legislative Council.
Apart from Ms Munde, Saturday’s cabinet reshuffle has also reduced the burden of two other BJP ministers. Education Minister Vinod Tawde gives up Medical Education, which has now gone to Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan. Similarly, Housing Minister Prakash Mehta’s other two departments — mining and labour — were handed over to Shiv Sena’s Subhash Desai and BJP’s Sambhaji Nilangekar.
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