Modi 3.0: NDA Rejects Ajit Pawar’s Demand to Induct Praful Patel as Cabinet Minister

Mumbai, 10th June 2024: On Sunday, the NDA leadership rejected Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar’s request to appoint NCP Rajya Sabha member Praful Patel as a cabinet minister. While both Pawar and Patel have accepted the NDA’s decision, they have decided to “wait till remedial measures are taken as early as possible.”

Following a meeting with BJP President J.P. Nadda, Home Minister Amit Shah, and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh late on Saturday, the NCP was informed that only one Minister of State (MoS) position was available for smaller parties, excluding the Telugu Desam Party led by N. Chandrababu Naidu and the Janata Dal (United) led by Nitish Kumar.

Given Patel’s seniority, the NCP had hoped he would be granted a cabinet-rank portfolio. Patel commented, “We were informed that NCP would get an MoS with independent charge. I was previously a cabinet minister in the Union government, so this would be a demotion for me. I had reservations about accepting the MoS post. We informed the BJP leadership, and they told us to wait a few days for remedial measures.”

Ajit Pawar, who attended Prime Minister Modi’s swearing-in ceremony in Delhi with state NCP President Sunil Tatkare, said, “Patel is a senior leader who has previously held the MoS post. We made it clear that the NCP should get a cabinet berth, or we will wait until it becomes available. However, we will continue to support the NDA; there’s no question of us leaving the alliance.”

Pawar noted that during his meeting with Nadda, Singh, and Shah, alongside Patel and Tatkare, he argued that the NCP currently has two MPs—one each in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha—but expects to increase to four, with the possibility of gaining two additional Rajya Sabha members. “Under such circumstances, I argued the NCP’s case for a cabinet berth. I also explained that Patel is a senior cabinet member. Giving the NCP an MoS post would be a great injustice and inappropriate. When the BJP leadership told us that the NCP would have to wait for a cabinet rank, we agreed accordingly,” he added.

In the Lok Sabha elections, the NCP managed to win only one seat, with Tatkare securing the Raigad seat out of the four it contested. Amid whispers of NCP’s dissatisfaction, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis rushed to Tatkare’s residence on Sunday, where Patel and Pawar were already present. “Certain situations must be accepted in coalition politics. The BJP leadership has made specific decisions regarding the cabinet constitution for partners. At this juncture, it will not be possible for us to change the formula for one ally. I am confident the NCP understands the situation. This is not the end game; soon, the cabinet will be expanded, and the issues raised by the NCP will be addressed,” he said.