Mumbai: The expansion of the Maharashtra Cabinet led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, August 9. A total of 20 MLAs are likely to be sworn in as ministers. Of these nine MLAs each from Shinde group and BJP, and two independents, including Bacchu Kadu, are likely to get berths in the Cabinet. BJP leaders Girish Mahajan and Sudhir Mungantiwar are also in the list of probables.
Deputy chief minister Fadnavis is expected to keep the crucial Home portfolio, news agency PTI cited its sources saying.
Shiv Sena MLA Shinde and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis were sworn in as chief minister and deputy chief minister respectively on June 30 after the resignation of Uddhav Thackeray due to a rebellion in the Sena ranks. At least 12 independents have supported the Shinde-BJP alliance in power.
For the past 35 days, Shinde and Fadnavis had been functioning as a two-member cabinet, which invoked criticism from the Opposition. The two leaders had been visiting Delhi regularly to discuss the issue of cabinet expansion with party high command.
On Saturday, Shinde said the state government’s functioning has not been affected in any way due to the delay in the expansion of the council of ministers and that more ministers will be inducted soon.
Ajit Pawar, Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly, said Shinde had promised a ministerial berth to every MLA who joined him. “Now Shinde is not able to fulfil his promise, hence the delay in cabinet expansion. The chief minister should also reveal what led to the delay,” Pawar said. Pawar also said there has been no invitation to him so far from the government for Tuesday’s ministry expansion.
(With PTI inputs)