The allocation of portfolios announced by Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis was along expected lines. This is an initial allocation and there can be changes after a cabinet expansion.
It is not clear who will handle some of the key departments such as energy, irrigation and housing. There are clear indications that power will be concentrated in the hands of the chief minister — for the first time since 1990-95, when the state saw a single-party government.
Fadnavis has retained home and urban development department (UDD) — the two most sought after portfolios that are politically significant. And he may choose to keep one or two more departments.
According to BJP insiders, this was done under the guidance of party leadership, and shows that Fadnavis’ clout has increased. But many in his cabinet are unhappy.
After leading BJP’s attack against the Congress-NCP as Opposition leader in the assembly, Khadse was expecting to be made CM, but had to step back.
He has been given the administratively important revenue department, but he has not forgotten the “injustice” done to him.
Five-term MLA Sudhir Mungantiwar, who, too, was in the race for the top job, was keen to get the home department. He is not pleased with the finance department given to him.
Vinod Tawde and Pankaja Munde have been given charge of education and rural development departments respectively.
“Though he will have enormous power, along with two key departments, Fadnavis’ success will depend on the performance of his team. It is not possible for one person to manage Maharashtra. It remains to be seen how he takes everybody into confidence and runs the government efficiently,” said a senior BJP leader.
Fadnavis will have a tough job of not just handling the departments efficiently, but also ensuring he doesn’t end up in controversies. He will have to tread carefully, take his sulking colleagues on board and meet people’s expectations.