The first-ever Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state will initially have only seven ministers, including Devendra Fadnavis, who will take oath at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday.
This is being seen as a calculated move, as the party is still negotiating with its former ally, the Shiv Sena, to come on board without making any unwarranted demands.
Chief minister-elect Fadnavis’s team will have four core committee members — Eknath Khadse, Vinod Tawde, Sudhir Mungantiwar and Pankaja Munde — and one MLA each from the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
The SC and ST will be included to give the small team an all-inclusive look.
Fadnavis is expected to keep the home, and finance departments.
With instructions from the top brass, Fadnavis is expected to merge many departments in the future. “This will be in accordance with PM Narendra Modi’s slogan of ‘minimum government, maximum governance’,” said a senior BJP leader.
Modi adopted the same strategy in his Union cabinet, and also had it in place as the Gujarat chief minister.
BJP insiders said Khadse, who aspired to be the CM, was offered post of speaker, which he refused. He is now expected to get the revenue and forests departments.
Unlike his predecessors, Fadnavis is unlikely to keep the urban development department. The party may give it to Vinod Tawde, who has been demanding home.
Mungantiwar may get the public works and Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation, which will eventually be merged.
Munde, the party’s OBC face, is expected to get the social justice department.
Party’s senior legislator from Palghar Vishnu Savra may get tribal development department, even though Vijaykumar Gavit, a turncoat from NCP (from north Maharashtra), is keen to get it.
Dilip Kamble from Pune could be a candidate from the SC category and he may end up getting the social justice department if Munde settles for another plum position.
Meantime, the state administration is all prepared to host PM Modi, CMs of BJP-led states, several senior leaders, celebrities and thousands of BJP supporters for the grand swearing-in ceremony.