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To accommodate senior leaders, Fadnavis to expand Cabinet on Sunday

Both, former senior Congress leader and leader of opposition in the assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Jaydutt Kshirsagar who joined BJP and Shiv Sena respectively are likely to get cabinet berths in this rejig.

india Updated: Jun 15, 2019 17:36 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Devendra Fadnavis,Maharashtra,Jaydutt Kshirsagar
Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis met Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray late on Friday night to discuss the modalities of the expansion. (HT PHOTO)

Three months ahead of the state assembly polls, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis will expand his cabinet on Sunday. The long pending cabinet reshuffle and expansion is being carried out to accommodate senior politicians from the Opposition, who joined the BJP-Shiv Sena recently and give a chance to aspirants within the parties.

Both, former senior Congress leader and leader of opposition in the assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Jaydutt Kshirsagar who joined BJP and Shiv Sena respectively are likely to get cabinet berths in this rejig.

“The cabinet expansion will be held tomorrow. I have held one discussion about it and one final discussion will be done on Saturday,” Fadnavis said. The chief minister was speaking to reporters in Delhi, where he was attending the Niti Ayog meeting. He is also expected to hold a discussion with BJP chief Amit Shah to get the final nod for the cabinet reshuffle.

Fadnavis had met Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray late on Friday night to discuss the modalities of the expansion. After the meeting he tweeted: “Met Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at Matoshree and held a detailed discussion on the cabinet expansion.”

The Fadnavis cabinet has 37 ministers – out of which 22 are cabinet ministers and 15 are junior ministers.

Out of the total, the BJP holds 16 cabinet and 7 junior ministerial posts while the Sena has 5 cabinet and 7 junior ministerial posts. Smaller allies, including the Rashtriya Samaj Paksha and Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana have one cabinet and one minister of state post respectively.

The chief minister can include up to 43 ministers in his cabinet as per Constitutional norms.

The Shiv Sena is likely to get one cabinet and one minister of state post in this reshuffle. There has been speculation that Shiv Sena was offered the Deputy Chief Minister’s post on Friday night but this was turned down by Thackeray to avoid dissidence within the party.

Fadnavis is expected to drop four ministers from his existing cabinet to give other aspirants a chance.

“There is a chance that two ministers from Vidarbha and two from Mumbai may get dropped. The two ministers from Mumbai may include Vidya Thakur (minister of state) and state housing minister Prakash Mehta, who is facing allegations and has been probed by the state Lokayukta. The decision on Mehta will be taken by the party’s senior leadership in Delhi,” said a senior BJP leader, who did not want to be named.

The cabinet has five ministers from Vidarbha and it is likely that two of them including one cabinet and one minister of state will be dropped. Two ministerial aspirants from Vidarbha, Dr Anil Bonde and Sanjay Kute are likely to get a chance in the reshuffle.

First Published: Jun 15, 2019 17:35 IST