Maharashtra Cabinet Expansion: 9 Leaders From BJP & Shiv Sena Each Take Oath As Ministers

New Delhi: Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Tuesday expanded his two-member cabinet with 18 ministers, nine each of BJP and Shiv Sena, taking oath at a ceremony at Raj Bhavan in south Mumbai.

Eknath Shinde was sworn in as the CM on June 30 along with Devendra Fadnavis, who took oath as Deputy CM.

The BJP leaders inducted into the cabinet include the party’s state chief Chandrakant Patil, Sudhir Mungantiwar, Girish Mahajan, Suresh Khade, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Ravindra Chavhan, Mangal Prabhat Lodha, Vijaykumar Gavit, and Atul Save.

Shiv Sena leaders who are being sworn in are Dada Bhuse, Shambhuraje Desai, Sandeepan Bhumre, Uday Samant, Tanaji Sawant, Abdul Sattar, Kesarkar, Gulabrao Patil, and Sanjay Rathaud.

The next round of expansion would take place later, news agency PTI reported an aide of Shinde as informing on condition of anonymity.

“The monsoon session of the state legislature has to be held at the earliest, so we decided to induct 12 legislators in the ministry expansion. Some of those taking the oath on Tuesday would be from the Legislative Council,” the aide said, as quoted by PTI.

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In a surprise move, Eknath Shinde was chosen for the top post after he managed to take a major chunk of Shiv Sena MLAs with him. He now has the difficult task to accommodate all of them in the ministry.

The CM has made seven visits to New Delhi in the last one month, and with every visit, there was talk that the ministry expansion was around the corner.

According to Ajit Pawar, Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly, Shinde promised a ministerial berth to every MLA who joined him.

“Now Shinde is unable to fulfill his promise, hence the delay in the cabinet expansion. The chief minister should disclose reasons for the delay,” Pawar said, as quoted by PTI.

The NCP leader also said that there has been no invitation to him from the Maharashtra government for ministry expansion.

“The delay in Maharashtra is small compared to Telangana, where in 2019, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao waited for 61 days to form a full-fledged council of ministers,” PTI reported a political observer saying.

Amid criticism over the delay, CM Shinde had maintained that the state government’s functioning had not been affected in any way due to the same. 

So far, the chief minister and deputy chief minister have taken at least 13 Cabinet decisions, such as bringing back the Jalyukta Shivar scheme, which was known to be Fadnavis’ flagship when he was CM, and moving the contentious Metro car shed for the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro back to Aarey Colony, reversing the MVA’s decision. 

The new government was formed after some Shiv Sena MLAs, under the leadership of Shinde, rebelled against the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government. The rebellion caused the MVA government —  which consisted of the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and Congress — to fall. 

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