Maharashtra: Vikhe Patil inducted as Cabinet minister

Maharashtra: Vikhe Patil inducted as Cabinet minister

Maharashtra Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil gestures after addressing a press conference, in Mumbai, Thursday, March 14, 2019. (Photo: PTI Photo)

With just two to three months away from the Vidhan Sabha polls in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis carried out a major revamp of his ministry.

Veteran politician Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, who had resigned as the leader of Opposition and quit as a Congress MLA, was sworn-in as a minister— his entry to the government at its fag end has been stamped by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah

Governor C H Vidyasagar Rao administered the oath of office and secrecy to the thirteen new ministers, of which eight are of Cabinet rank. 

Besides Vikhe Patil, the new Cabinet ministers are Jaydutt Kshirsagar, Ashish Shelar,  Sanjay Kute,  Suresh Khade, Dr Anil Bonde, Ashok Uike and Tanaji Sawant.

The ministers of states are Yogesh Sagar, Avinash Mahatekar, Sanjay Bhegde, Dr Parinay Phuke and Atul Save.

Six ministers, facing either allegations of corruption or non-performance or both, who were dropped are housing minister Prakash Mehta, the Gujarati face in the ministry; tribal affairs minister Vishnu Sawara; social justice minister Rajkumar Badole and junior ministers  Pravin Pote Patil, Dilip Kamble and Ambrish Atram.

Fadnavis had secured their resignations beforehand.

The chief minister had to do a balancing act to keep Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray in good humour, which was one of his major challenges.

The expansion-cum-reshuffle comes on the eve of the monsoon session of the state legislature, during which the budget for the year 2019-20 would be tabled and the drought situation would be discussed.

By inducting Vikhe Patil and Kshirsargar, Fadnavis has brought in considerable administrative experience in his government. 

Kshirsagar, who was with the NCP and a part of the erstwhile Democratic Front government, had recently joined the Shiv Sena.

Vikhe Patil was annoyed after the NCP refused to give away Ahmednagar seat to the Congress so that his son Dr Sujay Vikhe Patil could contest. The latter then joined the BJP and won.

Fadnavis also gave space to ally RPI by inducting Mahatekar, a close aide of RPI-Athawale president and Union Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale.

Three vacancies were already present in the ministry.

Agriculture minister Pandurang Pundkar passed away a few months ago, health minister Dr Deepak Sawant was not re-nominated to the Council and parliamentary affairs minister Girish Bapat was elected to the Lok Sabha from Pune.

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