Shiv Sena is seeking a 'more proportionate' representation through an early Cabinet expansion
The Shiv Sena has staked claim to the position of Lok Sabha’s Deputy Speaker and made two other demands, according to a report in The Economic Times. Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has conveyed the three demands to BJP President and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the report added.
Thackeray has also sought greater ministerial representation for his party along with a more 'weighty portfolio' for its Member of Parliament (MP) and minister Arvind Sawant, the report stated. Sawant is currently the only Shiv Sena MP in the Cabinet. He has taken charge of the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.
The report suggest that the demands have been made on the basis of Shiv Sena being the second largest party within the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in terms of the seats in the Lower House. Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.
In 2018, another NDA partner Janata Dal (United) was allotted the position of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman. JD(U) is the second largest NDA member in the Upper House.
“While we are happy that the BJP on its own has secured majority in the Lok Sabha, it is also important that the respective strength of the allies be acknowledged,” Sena’s Parliamentary party leader Sanjay Raut told the newspaper.
Raut said that with 18 MPs in Lok Sabha and three in the Rajya Sabha a single Cabinet berth was disproportionate. He added that the party should get a more proportionate representation through an early Cabinet expansion.
The development comes at a time when speculation is rife that the Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD) could be allocated the position of Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker.
The speculation was sparked after Pinaki Misra was made BJD’s Parliamentary party chief instead of Cuttack MP Bhartruhari Mahtab. Some suggest that Mahtab, who was awarded the best Parliamentarian award for 2017, could become the Deputy Speaker. BJD, which is not a BJP ally, has 12 MPs in the Lok Sabha.
In the previous Lok Sabha, the Deputy Speaker’s position was held by All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK)’s M Thambidurai.Meanwhile, reports suggest that senior BJP parliamentarians, including former Union ministers Maneka Gandhi, Radha Mohan Singh and Virender Kumar, are in contention for the post of Lok Sabha Speaker.Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro and gain access to curated markets data, exclusive trading recommendations, independent equity analysis, actionable investment ideas, nuanced takes on macro, corporate and policy actions, practical insights from market gurus and much more.