More than a month after Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s swearing-in as Maharashtra’s chief minister, the state Cabinet will be expanded on December 30 to accommodate other senior leaders of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress.
The oath-taking ceremony for around 30 leaders will be held in the Vidhan Bhavan premises in Mumbai, Maharashtra at around 1 pm.
Along with Thackeray, six others -- Shiv Sena’s Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai; NCP’s Jayant Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal and Congress’ Balasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut -- were sworn in at Mumbai’s Shivaji Park on November 28.
According to the power-sharing formula, the Shiv Sena will hold the chief minister’s position for five years along with 14 other ministerial berths. NCP would have the Deputy Chief Minister’s position and 16 ministerial berths. The Congress has the Assembly Speaker’s position and 12 ministerial berths.
Senior NCP leader and former deputy CM Ajit Pawar is expected to be inducted into the Cabinet. He could return as the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, reports suggest.
Amid the logjam over government formation in Maharashtra in November, Ajit Pawar had joined hands with the BJP to form a government that lasted around 80 hours. He was sworn-in as the deputy chief minister then as well before returning to the NCP fold. Prior to that, he was the deputy CM in the Maha-Aghadi government between 2010 and 2014.
Other NCP leaders such as Dilip Walse Patil, Dhananjay Munde and Nawab Malik are expected to be inducted into the council of ministers.
The Sena is likely to retain some of its ministers it had in the previous state government led by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Devendra Fadnavis.
Aaditya, Thackeray’s son and first-time Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Mumbai’s Worli constituency, may also be inducted into the Cabinet, reports suggest.
Former chief minister and senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan, among others, is expected to be inducted into the Cabinet today. Reports suggest that Congress may not give ministerial position to another of its former chief ministers, Prithviraj Chavan. Prithviraj Chavan could instead be given a responsibility at the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC).
The three parties remained in huddle even on the eve of the Cabinet expansion in a bid to get caste combinations correct. Distribution of the ‘big four’ portfolios – Home Affairs, Finance, Revenue and Urban Development – also remained a contentious issue, reports suggest. The Home portfolio is currently with Sena’s Eknath Shinde. Speculation is rife that if NCP was to get the Home portfolio, would Ajit Pawar, or Jayant Patil get it.
The Sena is reportedly keen on keeping Home Affairs and Urban Development even as NCP has sought Home Affairs and Finance. Reports suggest that the Congress will get the revenue department.