Maharashtra CM Shinde postpones cabinet expansion, focuses on boards

Express News Service

MUMBAI:  Ahead of the Maharashtra assembly winter session scheduled on December 19 in Nagpur, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis have decided to postpone cabinet expansion and begin allocations of state boards and corporations.

Shinde held a meeting with Maharashtra BJP president Chandrashekhar Bawankule, where they decided that rather than awaiting centre clearance for cabinet expansion, both the alliance partners can start allocations of state boards and corporations.

“The MLAs who supported Shinde in his revolt are desperate to get the ministerial hearth. Some of them have warned that if the cabinet is not expanded and if their names are not included, they may take a different call. The immediate issue before the CM is to pacify the disgruntled MLAs by allocations,” said a senior BJP leader who requested anonymity.  

The first cabinet expansion was carried out five months ago, however, majority of ministries are yet to be allocated. The chief minister and his deputy are burdened with the maximum portfolios. Besides, it also has an adverse cascading effect on the administration and implementation of government policies.

Meanwhile, the matter of disqualification of 16 MLAs including Shinde and prominent ministers are still pending in the Supreme Court. A negative result can jeopardise the government. Therefore, they are giving a lot of thought to delaying the expansions,” said a senior BJP leader who requested anonymity.

A source close to Shinde said that allocating the state boards with cabinet status will kill two birds with one stone. “The MLAs who were earlier demanding cream portfolios are now desperate and even ready to settle with boards. This will reduce competition. So later, it won’t be an issue for us to distribute the portfolios and expand the cabinet. This is a well-planned strategy,” he added.

BJP leader errs on Shivaji’s birthplace, apologises
BJP Maharashtra unit vice-president Prasad Lad has stoked another row over Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj after he made an inaccurate statement about the birthplace of the Maratha king. Lad, who is a close aide of state Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, on Saturday said that Shivaji was born in Konkan while in fact he was born in Shivneri fort in Pune district. Prasad Lad made the error while addressing a gathering at the Konkan Mohatsav in Mumbai on Saturday.

Lad’s remark invited strong reactions from leaders across political parties in the estate. Later, he extended an apology and said, “I have huge respect for Shivaji. It came out while speaking about Shivaji and Konkan. Konkan was the work land of Shivaji and that is a fact we cannot deny,” he added.

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