The Eknath-Devendra government in Maharashtra has finally expanded the cabinet today after a delay of more than five weeks after it was formed in the most politically exciting events on 30th June.
18 ministers, 9 each from the BJP and Shinde-led break away group of Shiv Sena took oath at 11 Am today at Raj Bhavan. This is expected to be the first round of expansion with a second in the offing soon. The permissible number of the council of ministers, including the chief minister in Maharashtra is 43. It is expected that there will be another cabinet expansion before the winter session in December.
The delay had started to become a kind of joke, underlining the eventuality of unstraightened differences in portfolio allocation and share of power with the defectors from Shiv Sena. The newly inducted Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and initially reluctant to join deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ frequent Delhi visits together also made it clear that the new government is to be formed under the watchful eye and monitoring of BJP central leadership.
The new ministers from the Shinde group would be Dada Bhuse, Shambhuraje Desai, Sandeepan Bhumre, Uday Samant, Tanaji Sawant, Abdul Sattar, Deepak Kesarkar, Gulabrao Patil and Sanjay Rathaud.
Chandrakant Patil, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Sudhir Mungantiwar, Suresh Khade, Girish Mahajan, Ravindra Chavhan, Mangal Prabhat Lodha, Vijaykumar Gavit and Atul Save from BJP would be part of the new government.
In June this year, a political upheaval to be equated with a huge political earthquake which sent nationwide tremors, 40 Shiv Sena MLAs, including 9 ministers who got elected in 2019 ditched the Shiv Sena expressing loss of faith in the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray. The coup made the NCP-Congress-Shiv Sena coalition MVA government fall. The rebels ostensibly were demanding that the Uddhav-led Shiv Sena had diluted its original Hindutva plank of Balasaheb.
The cabinet expansion would not be an easy job for either BJP or Shinde. There are far more aspirants for ministerial berths than the vacancies permit. 40 rebels and 10 independents who walked out of MVA would have to be placated. In the same way, BJP will have a hard task on hand to choose the most appropriate bunch from it’s 106 MLAs.
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