BJP leader Ram Shinde, who was allotted Water Conservation ministry, earlier held by Pankaja Munde, in a cabinet rejig, took over the charge today after initially refusing to do so.
Shinde, earlier a Minister of State for Home (Rural), was elevated to cabinet rank by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis during the expansion cum reshuffle of Cabinet on July 8.
Divesting of Water Conservation portfolio had caused a significant heartburn with Munde showing her disapproval on Twitter by refusing to attend a global water leaders’ summit in Singapore, inviting prodding by the CM to attend.
After he was assigned the Water Conservation ministry, Shinde had reportedly said that he will not take charge without meeting Munde, who was then on a foreign tour.
After formally taking over the reigns today, Shinde said he spoke to both Fadnavis and Munde.
He said Munde has wished him well for future.
According to sources in BJP, Shinde adopted a cautious approach in the wake of the ‘cold war’ between the CM and Munde, daughter of BJP stalwart (late) Gopinath Munde.
Another possible reason that Shinde delayed taking over the charge was that his Karjat-Jamkhed Assembly constituency has a sizable population of Vanjari, an OBC community.
The CM’s move to take out Water Conservation from Munde had triggered protests with some BJP supporters loyal to Munde setting afire his effigies in two separate incidents in Beed and Ahmednagar.
Munde is now left with portfolios of Rural Development and Women and Child Development.