Mumbai: Ahead of the Maharashtra Cabinet expansion, the Shiv Sena on Monday said old guards were not ready to give up ministerial berths for young leaders and they should come out of the illusion that the state government cannot do without them.
Without naming anyone, an editorial in Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana' also underscored the need for coming out of the psyche that one should get only a lucrative portfolio in the government "to serve the state or country", and questioned the intention of such leaders.
It, however, named senior Congress leaders like Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan and NCP's Ajit Pawar, who are being seen as contenders for cabinet berths in the second round of expansion.
The state Cabinet expansion is likely to take place after the state legislature's winter session, which begins in Nagpur on Monday and would conclude on December 21.
The editorial expressed surprise at party president and Chief Minister Thackeray Uddhav Thackeray not keeping the key Home department with himself, as had been the practice. Thackeray's predecessor Devendra Fadnavis had kept the portfolio with himself.
The Shiv Sena said re-allocation of portfolios would take place during the Cabinet expansion.
The Sena, NCP and Congress formed government in the state by joining hands after the October 21 Assembly polls under the banner of the 'Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi'.
The Shiv Sena, which is leading the government, said former state chief ministers Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan are keen on joining Thackeray's Council of Ministers. The question is as to which departments befitting (their stature) should be given to them, it said.
"It will be a trapeze act to incorporate Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan during Cabinet expansion and re-allocation of portfolios," the Marathi daily said.
It said NCP heavyweights like Ajit Pawar, Dilip Walse Patil, Rajesh Tope, Nawab Malik and others are also in the contention for ministerial berths.
"The Shiv Sena, too, will have to pick leaders (for ministerial positions) from among its old hands and young turks. It is expected that fresh faces come into Maharashtra's politics...but the old guards are not ready to let go of chairs for youngsters," the Thackeray-led party said.
Without naming anyone, it said, "Big people should come out of the illusion that Maharashtra or the government cannot do without them."
Noting that the Fadnavis government was no more there in Maharashtra, the Sena said it was not that the state is unable to do without it. Those who think that only lucrative portfolios can help serve the state or the country do not have "clean intentions", it remarked.
Government departments like relief, rehabilitation, information technology, skill development, school education and health are also important, but nobody is ready to take charge of them, the Sena alleged, without naming its allies.
"The definitions of words 'public services' and 'state's interest' need to be changed if the jousting is only for portfolios like home, urban development, public works and irrigation, thinking that holding these portfolios only marks the epitome of life," it said in sarcastic remarks.
The Sena alleged that the previous Fadnavis government ensured its sustainability through the home department and the BJP's growth through the urban development department.
"It used home department as if (the department) was its own employee and party workers...but the government has changed now. The chief minister has not kept much for himself and allocated portfolios with rather generosity. Hope the Nagpur session is successful! It definitely will be," it said.
As per the portfolio-sharing arrangement decided by the Sena and its allies NCP and Congress, the Thackeray-led party has got home, urban development, forest, environment, agriculture, industries and higher and technical education, and parliamentary affairs departments.
The NCP has been allocated finance and planning, housing, public health, irrigation, rural development and social justice departments.
Besides, the Congress has been given revenue, energy, PWD, tribal welfare, women and child welfare, textile, relief and rehabilitation.
Thackeray will keep the departments not allocated to any minister.