Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray
The much-awaited expansion of the Maharashtra council of ministers will take place on December 30, Congress sources said on December 26.
As many as 36 ministers could take oath on that day, sources added.
Currently the Uddhav Thackeray-led cabinet has six ministers besides chief minister Thackeray.
The swearing-in is likely to take place at the Vidhan Bhavan (state legislature complex) here.
Meanwhile, state Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat told reporters here that his party's list of the leaders who would take oath as ministers was ready. When asked if the Congress was seeking the post of deputy Chief Minister, Thorat said, cryptically, "Media can run this story."
As to why the cabinet expansion which was likely to take place earlier this week was delayed, he said the entire state administration was in Nagpur for the winter session of the legislature till last week.
"It takes time to make preparations for the swearing- in of so many ministers," he said.
Thorat and Nitin Raut of the Congress, Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai of the Shiv Sena and Jayant Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal of the NCP took oath alongwith Thackeray on November 28.
According to the power-sharing formula agreed on by the three parties, the Shiv Sena would have 16 ministers (apart from chief minister), NCP 14 and the Congress 12.
When asked if NCP chief Sharad Pawar -- seen as the architect of this unlikely alliance -- was the 'remote control' of the state government, Thorat said the three parties have framed a common minimum program, which guides the government.
The Shiv Sena joined hands with the Congress and NCP, its traditional adversaries, after its alliance with the BJP collapsed..