State cabinet expansion unlikely before SC hearing on August 1

Published on Jul 27, 2022 12:51 AM IST

The expansion of the state cabinet is not likely before August 1 when the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a clutch of petitions filed over the formation of the Eknath Shinde-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government

Chief minister Eknath Shinde and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis ANI
Chief minister Eknath Shinde and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis ANI
By, Mumbai

The expansion of the state cabinet is not likely before August 1 when the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a clutch of petitions filed over the formation of the Eknath Shinde-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government. Though the Shinde camp and the BJP have decided on a power-sharing formula, the list of the names to be inducted into the cabinet is yet to be finalised.

According to a BJP leader and former minister, the expansion will take place on July 29, or after August 2. “There is no dispute over the allocation of portfolios. The Shinde camp will get 16 berths, including that of the CM, while we will get 27 departments. Deputy chief minister [Devendra Fadnavis] is keen on keeping home and finance, while [Sudhir] Mungantiwar may get revenue and Chandrakant Patil is expected to be made public works department minister. However, the final list will be released by the BJP’s central leadership,” he said.

Another BJP leader said all the issues were resolved at the meetings between CM Shinde and Fadnavis and the BJP leadership in Delhi last week. “The delay is mainly because of the SC hearing, as the uncertainty over a few issues, including disqualification of the MLAs and right to issue whip during the confidence motion, looms large.”

The leader said that like a few missed dates, the expansion could not take place on Tuesday as well because of the demise of state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil’s mother on Sunday.

Shinde camp’s spokesperson Deepak Kesarkar, however, said the delay had nothing to do with the SC hearing. “The top court has not stopped us from the expansion. We have to do it at the earliest and it may take place in the next few days.”

A senior leader from the Shinde camp said the ministerial aspirants from both sides had started going back to their constituencies after waiting in Mumbai for four weeks.

Shinde and Fadnavis were sworn in on June 30, a day after Uddhav Thackeray resigned as the CM. Since then, the duo has been taking major decisions related to all the departments.

The opposition has slammed the government for the delay. Leader of opposition Ajit Pawar on Monday said, “The farmers are bearing the brunt of the downpour in various parts of the state as the government has failed to give them relief for crop losses.”

With the delay in cabinet expansion, the monsoon session is also expected to be delayed. An official from the state legislature said the session is expected to be held in the third week of August.

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