Finally, the Congress offered ex-Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh something to cheer about by inducting his younger brother Dilip in the State Cabinet as a minister.
Vilasrao had been lobbying hard for his brother ever since he was asked to resign as CM in December. Sunday’s was the second Cabinet expansion in ten days after Narayan Rane, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil and Naseem Khan were sworn as Congress ministers.
When Ashok Chavan took over as the CM in December, the Nationalist Congress Party used its entire quota while the Congress kept four vacancies.
Inducting Rane and two others in February, the Congress did not name the fourth minister, leaving many aspirants in the race. Vilasrao lobbied for his brother, a member of the Legislative Council and a junior minister in 1999-2004.
Sources said Congress could not afford to upset Vilasrao ahead of polls as he did not get any significant post in the party’s national organisation.
Two months after Vilasrao resigned as CM following the 26/11 terror attack, he was included in the committee for seat-sharing talks with the NCP and later made chairman of the party’s state poll management committee.
But Deshmukh expected much more as his rehabilitation package. He cited that there was no minister from his region Marathwada, except the CM, in the present Cabinet and hence his brother be made senior minister.