Pune: ‘Shiv Sena’s Loyalty to NDA Taken for Granted’ – Shrirang Barne Upset Over Cabinet Exclusion

Pune, 10th June 2024: Shiv Sena MP from Maval, Shrirang Barne, recently appointed as the party’s chief whip in Lok Sabha, has expressed dissatisfaction over being overlooked for a cabinet position in the new NDA government.

On Monday, Barne stated that the Shiv Sena, despite having the third-highest number of MPs among NDA allies, has not been treated fairly. He pointed out that other parties with fewer seats received cabinet berths. Barne, who was in contention due to his seniority among the newly elected Sena MPs, emphasized the disparity in treatment.

“Chirag Paswan’s party won five seats, H D Kumaraswamy’s party won two, and Jitan Ram Majhi’s party won one. They all have cabinet berths. Shiv Sena won seven seats but was not considered. This is injustice,” said the three-time Maval MP.

Barne further criticized the BJP for taking its long-time allies for granted, assuming they would remain with the NDA under any circumstances. He also noted that Shiv Sena MP Prataprao Jadhav, a four-time MP from Buldhana, was appointed as a minister of state (independent charge) but took the oath after 34 others, including representatives from smaller parties.

On Sunday, 72 MPs were sworn in as ministers, including 61 from the BJP and 11 from its allies. Barne highlighted Shiv Sena’s better strike rate in Maharashtra, where the party won seven of the 15 seats it contested, compared to the BJP’s nine wins out of 28 seats.

Several NCP leaders from Maharashtra were also displeased after being offered only a minister of state (MoS) post instead of a cabinet berth. The NCP declined the offer, considering it a demotion since senior leader Praful Patel had previously served as a cabinet minister.

NCP MLA from Pimpri, Anna Bansode, echoed Barne’s sentiments, stating, “Many party workers, along with me, are unhappy because none of our leaders are in the cabinet. Both Ajit Dada and CM Eknath Shinde faced significant opposition in Maharashtra for aligning with the BJP. Their demands should have been considered,” he said, adding that the NCP deserved more, especially since some parties with just one MP in the NDA were given cabinet positions.

Both Barne and Bansode stressed that granting cabinet berths to NCP and Shiv Sena would have sent a positive message ahead of the upcoming assembly elections.

However, Sena’s leader in Lok Sabha, Shrikant Shinde, the son of CM Eknath Shinde, countered these views with an official statement. “We have already made it clear we are supporting the government unconditionally. This nation has asked for and needs the leadership of PM Modi,” he said.

“There’s no bargaining or negotiation for power. We have extended unconditional support to an ideological coalition,” he added.