The Opposition in Maharashtra on Saturday, 30 July, mounted a fierce attack against the Eknath Shinde-led state government which has shown no signs of Cabinet expansion, even after completing a month in power.
While the two-member Cabinet, made up by Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, has taken some widely contested decisions, including the reversal of the stay on the metro car shed construction in Aarey Colony, the Opposition parties have alleged that the government "has no direction."
Shinde took over as chief minister on 30 June, with BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis as deputy CM, after Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray stepped down from the post following a tumultuous rebellion by 40 out of 55 Shiv Sena MLAs.
"There are differences in the Shinde camp because all the 40 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs want to become ministers, while there is unrest in the BJP also as Fadnavis was made deputy chief minister. The administration has no direction," State NCP president Jayant Patil said.
However, chief spokesperson of the Shinde faction, Deepak Kesarkar, defended the current dispensation and said that there was no dispute over the allocation of portfolios.
He said that Sena MLAs were more interested in "becoming district guardian ministers than Cabinet ministers to expedite development works."
Apart from the 40 MLAs, the party's 12 out of 19 Lok Sabha members have also rebelled against the Sena leadership. The breakaway group of MPs has been recognised by the Lok Sabha speaker. But the Shiv Sena has demanded that the speaker disqualify them.
'Compromising Maharashtra's Honour'
Further adding to the criticism, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told news agency PTI that the delay in Cabinet formation had compromised Maharashtra's honour.
"There is no government in existence for the last one month. Never before was Maharashtra's prestige undermined in such a manner. The state's honour was compromised. The oath taken by Shinde and Fadnavis is illegal," he said.
NCP leader and former Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil said that the government's inability to form a Cabinet even after a month shows that the political situation in the state is still fluid.
"Due to rains and floods in several parts of the state, people are facing hardships and since there are no Cabinet ministers and guardian ministers, people's issues have been neglected. Maharashtra has never before seen such a situation," he said.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Congress vice president Ratnakar Mahajan said that "it has never been so pathetic for a political party that it can't have a complete Cabinet in a state in a month's time. BJP's overambitious plan has to be blamed for this."
(With inputs from PTI.)