Maha cabinet expansion likely before August 15; Fadnavis to get Home
Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis said, "Maharashtra cabinet will be extended sooner than you imagine." According to sources, the exercise will be finished before August 15.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde is expected to add at least 15 ministers to his cabinet this week, while Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is expected to keep the crucial Home portfolio, sources said on Sunday.
Top government sources added that the state's civic elections, which were postponed while the Supreme Court heard arguments on the OBC reservation issue, will probably be held in October after receiving clarification from the high court.
Shinde and Fadnavis were sworn in as chief minister and deputy chief minister on June 30 following the resignation of Uddhav Thackeray due to a rebellion of the Shiv Sena ranks.
Since then, the duo has been operating as a two-member cabinet, drawing criticism from opposition leaders such as NCP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.
While talking to reporters, the Deputy CM said, "Ajit Pawar leads the opposition. He'll have to say such things. Ajit dada conveniently forgets that there were only five ministers for the first 32 days when he was in government."
Fadnavis said, "Maharashtra cabinet will be expanded sooner than you can imagine." Following sources, the exercise will be completed before August 15.
On Saturday, Chief Minister Shinde stated that the delay has not hampered the state government's operations in expanding the council of ministers and that more ministers will be appointed soon.
The CM, while talking to reporters, said that the work of the government has been unaffected in any way. The decision-making process remains unchanged. "The deputy chief minister and I have made decisions, and there has been no impact on the government's operations," the CM said.
Fadnavis stated that the BJP has embarked on a mission to improve its presence in Maharashtra in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections by identifying 16 parliamentary constituencies where opposition parties have consistently won.
He stated that these constituencies included Shiv Sena leaders who have joined the Shinde camp.
Fadnavis added since Shiv Sena, and the BJP are contesting the Lok Sabha elections as a coalition, the BJP will work to ensure the victory of the sitting Lok Sabha members from these constituencies.
He stated that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had been responsible for coordinating efforts to improve the BJP's performance in Baramati, where the party performed well in previous elections.
Fadnavis stated that Sitharaman is likely to visit Baramati in September, and travel plans for other central BJP leaders and Union ministers tasked with the responsibilities of Lok Sabha elections will be finalised soon.
The central BJP will focus its efforts in these 16 constituencies on improving the party's performance, Fadnavis added.
Supriya Sule, the daughter of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, currently represents Baramati. The seat is considered a stronghold of the Pawar family.
(With inputs from PTI)