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Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde is enlarging his cabinet on Tuesday – 40 days after taking oath after the fall of the Uddhav Thackeray-led government. The oath taking ceremony of the cabinet ministers is being conducted at the Raj Bhavan in Mumbai. Nine BJP leaders and nine Shiv Sena leaders are taking oath in the Maharashtra state cabinet.
Eknath Shinde was vowed in as the Chief Minister on June 30 along with Devendra Fadnavis – who took oath as the deputy chief minister. There are over 40 seats in the state cabinet, however, not all are being filled in the first go.
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders gathered at the Sahyadri guest house to discuss the names of the expected candidates to be selected into the state cabinet on Tuesday. Earlier to this, the Shinde-Fadnavis duo has conducted several meetings in Delhi over the last few weeks to conduct discussions with the BJP high command.
Maharashtra Cabinet expansion takes place 40 days after Eknath Shinde and Devendra Fadnavis formed government
From the BJP, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, Chandrakant Patil, Sudhir Mungantiwar, Girish Mahajan, Vijaykumar Gavit, Mangal Prabhat Lodh, Atul Save, Ravindra Chavan, and Suresh Khade were sworn in as ministers at the ceremony conducted at the Raj Bhavan. Shiv Sena’s Shinde faction appointed Deepak Kesarkar, Gulabrao Patil, Dada Bhuse, Tanaji Sawant, Uday Samant, Abdul Sattar, Shambhuraj Desai, Sanjay Rathod, and Sandipan Bhumre into the Cabinet.
BJP State vice president Chitra Wagh objects the induction of Sena leader Sanjay Rathod into the Cabinet. “It is very unfortunate that former minister Sanjay Rathod, who caused the death of Pooja Chavan, has been given the post of minister again. I will continue my fight against Rathod even though he has become a minister again,” said Ms. Wagh.
Mr. Rathod had been compelled to resign as State Forest Minister in the erstwhile Uddhav Thackeray-headed byMaha Vikas Aghadi government in 2021 after he came under mounting pressure from the BJP for his alleged relation with the death of Pooja Chavan, a 23-year-old woman from the nomadic banjara community in Pune.
Reacting to criticism, CM Shinde said Mr. Rathod had been given a clean chit by the police during the previous government.
“Sanjay Rathod had been given a clean chit by the police in the erstwhile MVA government. Hence, he was inducted in the present cabinet. If someone else has anything to say over and above this, we will definitely hear them out,” the Chief Minister said.
Ever since Mr. Shinde and Mr. Fadnavis took power on June 30 after the former led a revolt to overturn the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government of former CM Uddhav Thackeray, the expansion of the State Cabinet had been pending, drawing criticism from the Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena and other Opposition parties, including the NCP.
The Opposition has been criticizing Mr. Shinde and Mr. Fadnavis for running a ‘two-man jumbo Cabinet’ of their own.
17 of 18 new Ministers were Ministers earlier too
Of the 18 Ministers vowed in at the Raj Bhavan ceremony, only one has become a Minister for the first time. There is no woman in the list. The new Ministers consists of Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Rathod, who was the forest Minister when Uddhav Thackeray was the Chief Minister, and was compelled to resign after BJP leaders blamed him for a woman’s suicide. The new Ministers consists of State BJP president Chandrakant Patil (63), who is a two-term MLC and first-term MLA from western Maharashtra. He was Revenue and PWD Minister during 2014-19. Girish Mahajan (62) is a BJP leader from north Maharashtra and has secured Assembly elections six times consecutively. He is famous for his proximity with Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis. Sudhir Mungantiwar (60) is a six-term BJP MLA from Vidarbha’s Chandrapur district. He served as finance and forest Minister during 2014-19.
Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil (63) is a seven-term MLA from Ahmednagar district. He was the leader of opposition in Assembly while in Congress during 2014-19 but won the 2019 Assembly election on BJP ticket. Ravindra Chavan (51) of BJP is a three-term MLA from Thane district. He served as a Minister of State during 2014-19. Vijaykumar Gavit (67) is a five-term MLA, who left NCP in 2014 to join the BJP. He is from north Maharashtra’s Nandurbar district. Atul Save (60) is a second-term BJP MLA from Marathwada (Dist Aurangabad). He is a former Minister of State. Mangal Prabhat Lodha (66) is a five-term BJP MLA from Mumbai. He is also Mumbai unit president of the party. Lodha, a prominent builder, has declared assets worth ₹441 crore in the 2019 Assembly election, making him the richest MLA in the State.
Suresh Khade (64) is a second-term BJP MLA from western Maharashtra’s Sangli district. He is a Minister of State. Out of the nine legislators vowed in from Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s group of rebel Shiv Sena MLAs, Gulabrao Patil (56) is a four-term Shiv Sena MLA from north Maharashtra’s Jalgaon district. He was a Minister in the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA Government. Uday Samant (46) is a four-term Shiv Sena MLA from Ratnagiri district, He was a Minister in the MVA Government. Sandipan Bhumre (59) is five-term Sena MLA from Marathwada’s Aurangabad district. He was a Cabinet Minister in the previous government. Dada Bhuse (58) is a four-term Shiv Sena MLA from north Maharashtra’s Nashik district. He was a Minister in the MVA Government. Shambhuraj Desai (55) is a three-term Sena MLA from Satara district. He was a junior Minister in the MVA Government. Sanjay Rathod (51) is a four-term Sena MLA from Yavatmal district. Tanaji Sawant (58) is a first-term Sena MLA from Osmanabad district. He is a former member of the Legislative Council and a former Minister. Abdul Sattar (54) is three-term MLA from Marathwada. He was with the Congress in his first two terms and joined the Sena in 2019. Deepak Kesarkar (67) is a three-term MLA from Shiv Sena. He is from Sindhudurg district and is a former Minister of State.
Here is the list of ministers:
1. Sudhir Mungantiwar
2. Chandrakant Patil
3. Girish Mahajan
4. Suresh Khade
5. Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil
6. Ravindra Chavan
7. Mangal Prabhat Lodha
8. Vijay Kumar Gavit
9. Atul Save
Eknath Shinde camp/Shiv Sena:
1. Dada Bhuse
2. Uday Samant
3. Sandeepan Bhumare
4. Deepak Kesarkar
5. Shambhuraj Desai
6. Abdul Sattar
7. Tanaji Sawant
8. Gulabrao Patil
9. Sanjay Rathod
Shinde has made seven visits to New Delhi in the last one month, and with every visit there was talk that the ministry expansion will happen very soon.
Leader of Opposition in the state assembly, Ajit Pawar (NCP), said Shinde had guaranteed a ministerial seat to every MLA who joined him. “Now he is unable to fulfil his promise, hence the delay in expansion. The chief minister should disclose reasons for the delay,” he said.
Pawar also added there has been no invitation to him so far from the government for Tuesday’s cabinet expansion. It is clear that not all of the 40 rebel Sena MLAs will get the seat, he added.
Chandrakant Patil: The 63-year-old senior BJP leader was selected as the state party president in July 2019. With a strong RSS background, Patil began his political career with the party’s student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad. He has represented the Kothrud Assembly constituency in Pune district since 2019.
Sudhir Mungantiwar: In 1995, when the BJP-Shiv Sena government came to power for the first time in Maharashtra, Sudhir Mungantiwar was appointed as the minister of tourism and consumer protection. Coming from the RSS family, he became the vice president of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha in late 1980s. In 1989 and 1991 he took part the Lok Sabha elections from Chandrapur but lost both times. In 1995, he took part in the Assembly seat and won.
Girish Mahajan: Staring his political career with the ABVP, Mahajan as a student descent into right-wing party politics to slowly rise in the organisation from grassroots to represent taluka and gram panchayat politics. The six-term MLA representing Jamner constituency in district Jalgaon in North Maharashtra has never seen fall.
Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil: The 63-year-old joined the BJP in July 2019. He represents Shirdi Assembly seat in Ahmednagar district. Besides his large co-operative sector, he runs educational institutions and state of the art hospitals.
Suresh Khade: A Dalit BJP MLA from Miraj constituency of Sangli district in western Maharashtra, Khade started his political career from Republican Party of India (Athawale) in 1999. He joined the BJP later and won the election in 2004 for the party. In spite of being one of the senior leaders of the party, he was not given the chance in 2014.
Atul Save: The 60-year-old is a BJP MLA from Aurangabad East Assembly constituency. A two-term MLA, Save won the election for the first time in 2014. He was minister in the Devendra Fadnavis- led government. Known to be the BJP’s face in Auranagabad district, BJP hopes to make use of Save ahead of upcoming municipal corporation elections.
The other MLAs who took oath from the BJP are Ravindra Chavhan, Mangal Prabhat Lodha, and Vijaykumar Gavit.
Dadaji Bhuse: The 58-year-old is a four-term MLA from Malegaon constituency in Nasik district and has been MLA since 2004. He is known to be a staunch Shiv Sena worker. He was agriculture minister in the previous MVA government led by Uddhav Thackeray.
Shambhuraje Desai: The rebel Sena MLA is a native of Satara district in western Maharashtra. He is three-term MLA from Patan constituency. He was a minister of state for home (rural), finance and planning, state excise, marketing, skill development and entrepreneurship and was also selected as guardian minister of Washim district in 2020 during the MVA government. After the rebellion, Desai had hit out at Uddhav and the NCP, alleging that even after making him junior minister he had no powers.
Meet the Maharashtra ministers with their portfolios
|Eknath Shinde||General Administration, Urban Development, Information and Technology, Information and Public Relations, Public Works (Public Undertakings), Transport, Marketing, Social Justice and Special Assistance, Relief and Rehabilitation, Disaster Management, Soil and Water Conservation, Environment and Climate Change, Minorities and Aukaf and other portfolios not allotted to any other Minister.|
|Devendra Fadnavis||Home, Finance and Planning, Law and Judiciary, Water Resources and Command Area Development, Housing, Energy, Protocol.|
|Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil.||Revenue, Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development|
|Sudhir Mungantiwar||Forest, Cultural Affairs, Fish Business.|
|Chandrakant Dada Patil||Higher and Technical Education, Textile Industry, Parliamentary Affairs.|
|Vijaykumar Gavit||Tribal Development|
|Girish Mahajan||Rural Development and Panchyati Raj, Medical Education, Sports and Youth Welfare.|
|Gulabrao Patil||Water Supply and Sanitation.|
|Dada Bhuse||Ports and Mining.|
|Sanjay Rathode||Food and Drugs Administration.|
|Sandipan Bhumre||Employment Guarantee Scheme and Horticulture.|
|Tanaji Sawant||Public Health and Family Welfare.|
|Ravindra Chavan||Public Works (excluding Public Undertakings), Food and Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection.|
|Deepak Kesarkar||School Education and Marathi Language.|
|Atul Save||Co-operation and Other Backward and Bahujan Welfare.|
|Shanmbhuraj Desai||State Excise.|
|Mangal Prabhat Lodha||Tourism, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Women and Child Development.|
The Maharashtra Cabinet Expansion inclusive of 18 ministers takes the total strength of the state cabinet to 20. As per the rules of the house, Maharashtra Government Cabinet can comprise of a maximum 43 ministers. With 23 Cabinet seats still vacant, political circles have been abuzz with talks of a next round of cabinet expansion taking place in next few months. The current expansion of Maharashtra Cabinet didn’t see even a single woman being inducted in the state government. During the next round of cabinet expansion may see women ministers being included in the fold as per media reports.
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