With no representation for women in the Eknath Shinde-led cabinet, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Supriya Sule on Tuesday said the decision shows that the ruling parties in Maharashtra do not respect women. A total of 18 MLAs- nine each belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shinde faction of Shiv Sena- took oath as cabinet ministers at a function held at Raj Bhavan. Talking to reporters, Sule said it was unfortunate and shocking that not a single woman could find a place in the expanded cabinet.
Without taking state BJP president Chandrakant Patil’s name, she said many times BJP leaders have expressed views that women should be confined to the kitchen. Many times people of that party express the view that women should be confined to the kitchen…it has started reflecting in their words and actions.
In May, Patil had taken a jibe at Sule asking her to go home and cook. He had later said he meant no disrespect to women. It is unfortunate that not a single woman found a place in the cabinet. Fifty per cent of the population of the country is women and not a single woman finding a place in the cabinet is shocking and surprising. This decision shows that they don’t respect women, she said. When asked about Shiv Sena MLA Sanjay Rathod’s induction into the cabinet, Sule said it was the BJP which vociferously demanded his resignation over the death of a woman when he was a minister in the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government. I am happy that he has been made a minister. When he was with us, we maintained that injustice is being done against him. But it was the BJP that demanded his resignation by making wild allegations. But what happened to Puja Chavan whose death forced Rathod to resign from the cabinet?” Sule asked.
In remarks that were laced with sarcasm, Sule said she was happy that many leaders who were earlier with the NCP found a place in the new cabinet. Many strove hard for years and yet they could not become ministers. But our talented and intelligent people got a chance. I whole-heartedly thank the BJP, she said. Among the ministers, Uday Samant, Deepak Kesarkar (both from the Shiv Sena) and Vijaykumar Gavit (BJP) were NCP legislators at some point in time. Radhakrisha Vikhe-Patil was a senior Congress leader and also held the post of the Leader of Opposition before joining the BJP.