Mumbai/Pune, Dec 31 (IANS) Peeved at Congress Pune MLA Sangram Thopte being denied a ministerial berth, his angry supporters vandalised the city party office, here on Tuesday evening.
Several Congress, Youth Congress and student activists, including a Youth Congress secretary from Solapur resigned en masse from their posts in the party, though the exact numbers were not available.
Scores of Congress supporters of Thopte, shouting slogans, armed with sticks and rods, barged into the party office in Shivaji Nagar and virtually went on a demolition spree, vandalising and flinging around chairs, tables, glass fittings, computers, a television set and other furniture.
They did not spare the chamber of city party Chief Ramesh Bagwe, said other office-staff who witnessed the vandalism.
State Congress President Balasaheb Thorat expressed concern over the developments and said the party leaders would speak to them and sort out their grievances.
The developments came a day after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackery expanded his cabinet to its full strength, which has brewed discontent among sections of the Maha Vikas Aghadi allies on Tuesday.
Several senior leaders and legislators of Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress, who feel left out of the cabinet, have been expressing their resentment in different manner.
Late on Monday night, NCP’s four-time MLA Prakash Solanke from Majalgaon in Beed threatened to quit his seat, claiming he was disgusted with politics and would only concentrate on social work henceforth.
However, on Tuesday evening, Solanke announced he has decided to continue as a legislator after speaking with the party leaders. Minister Dhananjay Munde endorsed his view, saying that after discussions, Solanke will not quit and work for the party.
Despite assurance by Congress MLA from Solapur City Central Praniti (Sushilkumar) Shinde that she would speak with her supporters, several party workers have quit this evening.
Shiv Sena’s Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut, who played a key role in delivering the MVA government, was reportedly sulking as his two-term MLA brother from Mumbai Sunil Raut was not made a minister.
However, both the brothers late on Monday dismissed speculation and said there was nothing amiss, and that the party was above any post.
Several senior Sena ex-ministers like Ramdas Kadam, Ravindra Waikar, Diwakar Raote, Deepak Kesarkar and Tanaji Sawant were dropped this time.
Sanjay Raut attributed this to the limited choices before the party and its inclination to give chance to new and younger faces in the government.
There is speculation that former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan is also nursing a grudge after he was overlooked for both the Speaker’s post and a cabinet berth. But there are indications he may in the reckoning for the post of state party chief as the incumbent, Balasaheb Thorat, is now a Cabinet minister.
A Sena leader told IANS late on Monday that there was no need for any of the MVA legislators to panic if they have missed a chance to join the state cabinet.
“There are many other opportunities to serve in the government, including 75 major state corporations and other important bodies where they could be accommodated, many coming with even ministerial status,” said the leader, requesting anonymity.
On Monday, Thackeray expanded his Cabinet to induct 36 new ministers, including 10 Ministers of State rank, besides six sworn-in earlier, to take the total strength to 43, (inclusive of the CM).