After a tiring day, the constant flow of party legislators kept chief minister-elect Devendra Fadnavis busy in his small room at the Majestic MLAs’ Hostel near Regal Cinema till the early hours of Wednesday. Each legislator, who is not part of the state’s core team, wanted a berth in his team.
A polite Fadnavis did not disappoint his MLAs. He told the visitors he would take their case up with the party bosses, who would ultimately decide his team and departments to be allocated. The task has become very difficult for the 44-year-old because, barring first-time MLAs, all the others are eyeing a place in his Cabinet, which will take oath on October 31.
The lobbying has become even more hectic because the party has indicated the first team will be very compact according to its policy of ‘minimum government, maximum governance’. With increasing pressure for balancing the socio-political equations, however, the first team is expected to have more than 10 ministers. Earlier, it was decided there will be only seven members – including the CM and four other core team members and one MLA each from the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe.
According to sources, Fadnavis is expected to keep the home and finance departments and merge the ones to be giving out to his ministers. The same formula is in place in New Delhi and Gujarat.
The BJP’s headache increased further after four small allies, Swabhimani Paksha, Rashtriya Samaj Paksha, Republican Party and Shiv Sangram, demanded a couple of berths each. Fadnavis told the media on Tuesday he will take the allies along. Party insiders said it will try to accommodate as many in the first round of expansion. The BJP is also waiting for the Sena to join the government after which it will need to give away some berths to them.
Eknath Khadse, who aspired to be the chief minister, was offered the speaker’s post, but he rejected the offer. He has been assured the revenue and forests departments, said BJP insiders. Another senior leader Vinod Tawde may get urban development. Sudhir Mungantiwar may get a package of the public works and Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation.
Pankaja Munde, the party’s OBC face, is expected to get the social justice department. The party’s ST legislator from Palghar, Vishnu Savra, may get the tribal development department. Sudhakar Bhalerao from Marathwada may be one of the SC candidates.