5 MLAs as ministers, Mumbai gets its space in MVA cabinet
The cabinet expansion of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) on Monday saw five Mumbai legislators take oath as ministers.
While the inclusion of Aaditya Thackeray and Anil Parab from the Shiv Sena, along with Aslam Shaikh from the Congress, ruffled a lot of aspirants, the names of Varsha Gaikwad from Congress and Nawab Malik from Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), who had earlier served as cabinet ministers, were expected.
The Sena workers were shocked as both Ravindra Waikar, who was regarded as close aide of chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and was part of the last ministry, was excluded to make way for Anil Parab.
Their contention was Parab was a member of the legislative council, unlike Waikar, who has maintained the clout of the Sena in the Jogeshwari belt, representing it for the past three terms.
Parab has been very active as a backroom operator and has been one of the leaders helping Uddhav Thackeray to run the party.
The other shock was of Malad Congress legislator Aslam Shaikh becoming the cabinet minister. He outwitted both Mumbadevi legislator Amin Patel and former minister Naseem Khan who lost the recent elections.
Shaikh was previously in the Samajwadi Party and served as its corporator till he joined the Congress.
Before the Assembly polls, Shaikh opened communications with both the Sena and BJP and was ready to jump ship. In fact, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had almost cleared his inclusion, but had to retreat as the party high command did not approve it in view of the opposition of the Malad unit of the party.
There were also murmurs of discontent as both Naseem Khan and Patel are senior to Shaikh in the party.
Varsha Gaikwad, who is the daughter of Mumbai Congress chief Eknath Gaikwad, has once again made it to cabinet, as a woman and Dalit representative. Varsha was elected from Dharavi constituency which is also India’s largest slum.
The inclusion of Nawab Malik was almost a foregone conclusion as Malik was the lone NCP legislator from Mumbai. In addition, he represented his party effectively in the media during the government formation crises where the Sena dumped its ally BJP to join hands with the Congress-NCP to form the government.