Eknath Shinde, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, is poised to add at least 15 new ministers to his cabinet this week. Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who was in Delhi for an OBC conference, revealed for the first time that the cabinet might be expanded before August 15 in response to rising pressure from opposition parties over delays.
Fadnavis, however, declined to provide more information. He is anticipated to receive the important financial and residential portfolios. There are no differences between the BJP
and his Shiv Sena
group on the cabinet expansion, according to Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, who was present at the NITI Aayog meeting today. The exercise would be completed shortly, he added. Shinde and Fadnavis both made it clear that the expansion of the cabinet had nothing to do with the Supreme Court hearing on a number of petitions filed by the Uddhav Thackeray group.
There will probably be seven ministers sworn in from the BJP and seven from the Shinde camp. After Thackeray resigned as Chief Minister due to a mutiny within the Sena legislature party, Shinde and Fadnavis was sworn in on June 30. Since then, they have been operating as a two-person government and have come in for criticism from the opposition leaders as well as insults and memes on social media.
Fadnavis responded to former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar's criticism, saying, "The Chief Minister belongs to the people, and I am in his cabinet. Shinde cannot increase the cabinet without Delhi's approval. We are available to the citizens of this state at all times.
He pointed out that neither the functioning of the government nor the decision-making process had been affected by the delay in the cabinet expansion. "The opposition's leader [in the state assembly] is Ajit Pawar. He'll have to say things like that. Ajit-dada conveniently forgets that throughout the first 32 days of his tenure in office, there were only five ministers, according to Fadnavis.