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Amid resentment after LS polls debacle, Cabinet expansion in offing in Maharashtra

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, the chief leader of Shiv Sena and deputy chief ministers Devendra Fadnavis of BJP and Ajit Pawar, who is the NCP president, have already initiated discussions on this issue.
Last Updated : 10 June 2024, 06:41 IST
Last Updated : 10 June 2024, 06:41 IST

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Mumbai: Amid brewing up resentment after the Lok Sabha polls debacle, the BJP-led Maha Yuti (NDA) dispensation in Maharashtra is contemplating undertaking a cabinet expansion, appointing chairpersons of state-owned corporations and filling up the 12 vacancies of the Legislative Council from the Governor’s quota.

With Vidhan Sabha elections just a few months away, the BJP-led alliance plans to plug all loopholes.

Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde, the chief leader of Shiv Sena and deputy chief ministers Devendra Fadnavis of BJP and Ajit Pawar, who is the NCP president, have already initiated discussions on this issue.

In the Lok Sabha polls, the Maha Vikas Aghadi (I.N.D.I.A.) comprising Congress, Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) and Sharad Pawar-led NCP (SP) along with one Independent member has posted a tally of 31 while the Maha Yuti could get only 17 seats.

The smaller parties and Independents supporting the BJP-Shiv Sena-NCP camp are unhappy over the delay in Cabinet expansion and delay in appointment of chairpersons of various government-owned corporations.

Shinde and Fadnavis were sworn in as Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister, respectively, on 30 June, 2022 and it cleared the trust vote on 4 July. However, after a delay, 18 new Cabinet ministers were sworn in on 9 August, 2022 - taking the strength to 20. On 2 July, 2023, Pawar was sworn in as the Deputy Chief Minister along with eight Cabinet ministers - taking the strength to 29.

Since the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly comprises 288 members, the maximum ministers that the government can have is 43 - which means 14 more can be accommodated. It may be mentioned, the current council-of-ministers have all ministers of Cabinet-rank.

In the expansion, which is expected to be undertaken before the monsoon session, few ministers of state would be sworn in.

The government would also make efforts to recommend the names for the 12 vacancies in the Maharashtra Legislative Council from the quota of the Governor.

The heightened political activities come at a time when the Congress-led alliance has started luring the MLAs of Shinde-led Shiv Sena and Pawar-led NCP.

In the third edition of Narendra Modi-government, Maharashtra could get six berths only - which include four for BJP, one from Shiv Sena and one from RPI (Athawale). The NCP has not a ministry as it refused to settle for a minister of state and insisted on a cabinet berth.

Meanwhile, in a sensational claim in the run up to the Vidhan Sabha polls in Maharashtra, Leader of Opposition Vijay Wadettiwar on Monday said that 40 MLAs of Eknath Shinde-Shiv Sena and Ajit Pawar-led NCP would leave and join the Maha Vikas Aghadi.

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Published 10 June 2024, 06:41 IST

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