Discontent in Congress about 'gross treatment' in the portfolio allocation

MUMBAI: Congress faces dissatisfaction with the allocation of portfolios, with a section of leaders blaming the head of the state unit for the party getting unfair treatment compared to the Shiv Sena and in the alliance government led by Uddhav Thackeray.

His anger is also directed towards the supreme of the PNC Sharad Pawar, who emerged as the key player in the alliance, with a leader who says they need someone in the state unit who can face the strong man of Maratha.

Some Congress leaders say they demanded at least two ministries from the list comprising agriculture, rural development, industries, housing, transport and cooperation, but the allies Shiv Sena and NCP refused to pay heed.

Instead, ministries like culture, salt pan and port development, which were earlier with the Shiv Sena, have been handed over to the Congress.

The Congress has a crude treatment in the distribution of power between the three partners of the alliance. Thorat has not been able to express the interest of Congress during the deliberations on the distribution of power, a party leader with the condition of anonymity told PTI.

According to sources, the leader of Congress, who was appointed energy minister, is not happy with the delivery of the Department of Public Works to his main colleague and former chief minister. Ashok Chavan and Thorat is assigned the revenue department.

Citing how intense the bitterness in the rank and file of Congress was, a leader said that the vandalism of the party office and the burning effigy of a party secretary general never happened before, adding that such acts of indiscipline should be taken in I laughed.

Some alleged supporters of Congress, MLA Sangram Thopte, ransacked the party office in Pune on December 31 to protest against their exclusion from the state ministry.

In addition, some party workers in Solapur, who were unhappy because MLA Praniti Shinde did not get a ministerial position, burned an effigy of the AICC secretary general in charge of Maharashtra Mallikarjun Kharge.

When he contacted him, the former president of the Maharashtra Congress, Manikrao Thakre, admitted that the outpouring of anger was unknown in the party.

However, he said: Both MLAs (Thopte and Shinde) have nothing to do with these incidents. They have said they are with Congress and abide by the decisions of the leaders.

Meanwhile, a high-ranking party official wrote to the AICC secretary general (organization), K C Venugopal, complaining that there is no discipline in the party.

Several leaders and congressional workers are unhappy because most of the party's decisions are made after an argument with PCN supreme Sharad Pawar. This is very dangerous, the official wrote.

He also gave an example of the recent Ahmednagar zilla parisahd surveys where Congress has 23 members and NCP 18.

Of the 23 members of Congress, 10, including the congressman turned into BJP MLA, Radhakrishna's wife Vikhe Patil, had promised to obey the party whip.

Despite this, Thorat let Congress comply with the position of vice president, giving the position of president of Zilla Parishad to the PCN, said the Congress official.

Another Congress leader said as part of the three-party alliance government, the Shiv Sena and NCP would boost their cadre strength and improve organizationally, but the Sonia Gandhi-led party should also not be left behind.

The Maharashtra Congress needs a president who can face Sharad Pawar to make sure we don't fade into oblivion in the state, he said.

However, a leader close to Thorat said that the head of state of Congress managed to get the best for the party, given the fact that he only has 44 MLAs in the 288-member Assembly.

According to the allocation of portfolios, the Deputy Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra and the main leader of the NCP, Ajit Pawar, has the finance and planning department, while party colleague Anil Deshmukh is the new Interior Minister of the state.

Besides, first-time Shiv Sena MLA Aaditya Thackeray, who is the son of Chief Minister, has been given the environment, tourism and protocol departments.

State Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat has got the revenue ministry while his party colleague and former chief minister Ashok Chavan got PWD-excluding public undertakings.

The PNC led by Sharad Pawar has the majority of 'plum' ministries in portfolio allocation.