Choosing Maharashtra ministers is tightrope walk

Choosing Maharashtra ministers is tightrope walk

Choosing Maharashtra ministers is tightrope walk

Choosing his Council of Ministers will be a tightrope walk for Maharashtra Chief Minister-designate Devendra Fadnavis, as there will be a need to do a balancing act in the run up to the formation of the BJP-led government. 

The 44-year-old would be  required to induct some young ministers and at the same time ensure that senior leaders are accommodated while ensuring all regions are given proper representation.

Fadnavis, a Brahmin, who hails from Vidarbha region – where there has been a demand of statehood – would have to ensure that all regions get proper representation Besides, he would have to ensure that all communities – Brahmins, Marathas, OBCs, SCs, STs and Muslims get representation. Women also need to be accommodated while allies and independents may bay for ministerial berths. 

Fadnavis is likely to keep Urban Development, Housing and General Administration departments.

Fadnavis was picked to head the government because of the blessings of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah, but he had faced a tough task as there were many contenders. The supporters of Union Shipping and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Eknath Khadse had staged a show of strength over the last week. Besides, Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council Vinod Tawde, former Tourism Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar and late Gopinath Munde’s daughter Pankaja Munde-Palve too were said to be in the race.

As far as the post of Speaker is concerned, the names that are doing rounds are Khadse and senior leader Girish Bapat, who hails from Pune.

In case Bapat agrees to be Speaker, then Khadse, who is from North Maharashtra, would be in the ministry and he has to be given ministries like Finance or Revenue – given his stature and his experience.

Tawde, who hails from Mumbai, is a strong contender for the Home portfolio. Mungantiwar, who hails from Vidarbha would have to be given an important portfolio. Pankaja, who is from Marathwada too needs to be accommodated in the ministry. Mumbai BJP President Ashish Shelar is a strong contender for the Public Works ministry.

Senior leader Chandrakant Patil, who is an MLC, may be accommodated in the ministry – but he may also be considered for the post of Maharashtra BJP President, currently held by Fadnavis. Two MLAs from Mumbai Prakash Mehta, who is a Gujarati and Raj Purohit, who is a Marwari, are being considered for Energy and Excise departments. Pasha Patel may also be inducted.