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Maha: Shinde-Led Sena Had Urged BJP Leadership To Not Give Finance Dept To Ajit Pawar, Claims Raut

Sanjay Raut, the leader of the Shiv Sena (UBT), said on Saturday that the BJP leadership in Delhi refused to rescind its decision to give the finance portfolio to NCP leader Ajit Pawar. 

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Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut
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Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut on Saturday claimed Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena had urged the BJP leadership in Delhi to not give a finance portfolio to NCP leader Ajit Pawar, but it did not relent. 
    
He also claimed the Shinde-led Sena was told that if it had issues with the NCP leader getting the finance ministry in the Maharashtra government, then it could swap the chief minister's post with him (Ajit Pawar). 
    
Responding to Raut's claim, Pawar said this was an attempt to disturb the atmosphere unnecessarily.
    
“They went to Delhi and they were not paid any heed. They were told to stay (in government) if they are willing. Delhi said if you have issues with Ajit Pawar keeping the finance department, then keep the department with you and swap the chief minister's post with him (Pawar). This is my information,” Raut claimed while speaking to reporters.
    
Pawar was allocated the key Finance and Planning ministry on Friday when portfolios were allocated to nine NCP MLAs who joined the Shinde-Fadnavis government on July 2. The finance portfolio was held by Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. 
    
Notably, Shinde and other MLAs of Shiv Sena had cited the blocking of funds by Ajit Pawar as finance minister in the erstwhile MVA government as one of the reasons behind their rebellion against Uddhav Thackeray last year.
    
Raut said welcoming Ajit Pawar into the state cabinet and as the finance minister shows the helplessness of the Shinde faction. 
    
“The importance of the Shinde faction was restricted to splitting the Shiv Sena and it is over now. I doubt whether the Ajit Pawar faction will be in power for a long time. BJP's policy is to use and throw,” the Shiv Sena (UBT) MP added. 
    
He claimed at least 17-18 MLAs are in touch with Shiv Sena (UBT), but they have not decided what to do with them. 
    
Raut said Uddhav Thackeray will travel to Bengaluru to attend the meeting of Opposition parties next week.
    
Asked about Raut's claim that the Shinde-led faction was asked to give up the CM's post as it was not willing to part with the finance portfolio, Pawar said, "I don't know. This is an attempt to disturb the atmosphere unnecessarily. We are happy with the portfolio allocation."
    
There are around 14 vacant positions (in the cabinet) and expansion of the cabinet is the chief minister's prerogative, he told reporters in Nashik.
    
"The CM will decide, I will not speak about it," Pawar said in response to a query about the cabinet expansion.

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