Maharashtra cabinet to be expanded today; Congress to get 10, NCP 13

Maharashtra cabinet to be expanded today; Congress to get 10, NCP 13

EC News Desk

Mumbai, December 30, 2019: The first expansion of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's cabinet will take place today and all eyes are on who gets which portfolio. The cabinet expansion event is slated to begin at 1 pm at the Vidhan Bhavan in Mumbai.

Thackeray was sworn in as Chief Minister on November 28 with six ministers, two each from the Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP. The cabinet expansion is likely to see the entry of senior NCP leaders Ajit Pawar, Dilip Walse Patil, Hassan Mushrif and Jitendra Awhad. All eyes had been on the expansion for multiple reasons.

Ajit Pawar, who had given a jolt to the NCP and decided to form a short-lived government with the BJP, is keen on getting the home portfolio, currently with the Shiv Sena.

Around 36 ministers - including Cabinet and Minister of State ranks - will be sworn-in. Sources say 10 will be from the Congress, with the party's former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan likely to get the public works department portfolio and nothing for Prithvijraj Chavan, another former Congress Chief Minister.

Six ministers who have already been sworn-in are the Sena's Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai, the NCP's Jayant Patil and Chhaggan Bhujbal, and the Congress's Balasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut.

The total strength of the cabinet is 42, including the Chief Minister.

Portfolio-sharing talks between the three allies have also seen the Congress get the Speaker's post; the MLA from the Sakoli segment, Nana Patole was elected unanimously on December 1.

Who's likely to get what:

From the Congress, former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan is likely to be sworn in. Ashok Chavan brings with him a lot of experience.

Second in the list of who's likely to be sworn-in today is Satish Patil. He has served as a minister in the previous government.

Yashomati Thakur, the only woman MLA from Vidarbha constituency and Vijay Wadettiwar, an influential Congress party leader are also on the list.

Vijay Wadettiwar was the leader of opposition and also served as a minister in the previous government.

Amit Deshmukh, son of late Vilasrao Deshmukh, is also likely to be sworn in. He represents the Latur constituency.

Varsha Gaikwad from Mumbai, a four-time MLA and daughter of senior Congress leader Eknath Gaikwad along with others such as Aslman Sheikh, Satish Patil, Sunil Kedar and KC Padavi are also likely to be sworn in.

NCP

From the NCP, Dilip Walse Patil, currently serving his seventh term as an MLA, is likely to be sworn in. He is a very trusted and experienced leader of the party. Walse has previously headed finance and planning and other important portfolios.

Other names in the list of to-be-sworn-in MLAs are: Jitendra Awhad, who has previously served as cabinet minister of medical education and horticulture in Maharashtra state cabinet; Dhananjay Munde, a very important leader and a close aide of Ajit Pawar; Nawab Malik, the spokesperson of NCP party; Hasan Mushreef, Babasaheb Patil, Rajendra Shingne and Anil Deshmukh.

Shiv Sena

From the Shiv Sena, Tanaji Sawant, a politician and businessman, who won with a record minimum margin in the recently concluded assembly elections is said to be on the list.

Other Shiv Sena leaders likely to be sworn-in today include Gulabrao Patil, Sanjay Rathod and Ravindra Waikar.

With input from IANS