In a first embarrassment for the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA, the government had to cancel its order appointing Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant and party MLA Ravindra Waikar as chairman of Maharashtra State Parliamentary Coordination Committee and Chief Coordinator in Chief Minister's Office, respectively. The fear of disqualification from membership of Lok Sabha and Assembly respectively due to the office of profit clause has forced both the leaders to decline their appointments which were equivalent to the rank of cabinet ministers. The government now has hinted at their re-appointment with safeguards to save them from the possibility of disqualification.
Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta was lobbying to get the post of coordinator in the CMO. Now, he is being blamed by Shiv Sena for misleading the government on this issue. “The CS should have briefed the Chief Minister about the office of profit clause. He should have also suggested the way out to save them from any possible disqualification,” said a senior leader of Sena. Waikar was appointed chief coordinator in the CMO on February 11. Sawant, on February 14, was appointed as chief of the coordination panel. Immediately after the orders of appointment were issued, the BJP strongly objected to this. It has warned that these appointments will fall under the office of profit category. Under the provisions of Article 102 (1) and Article 191 (1) of the Constitution, an MP or an MLA (or an MLC) is barred from holding any office of profit under the central or state government.
According to two separate government resolutions (GRs), dated February 20, both the appointments were cancelled after they conveyed to the administration that they were not willing to take up these new roles. The respective GRs do not mention the reasons cited by Sawant and Waikar.