India

BJP snatches lion's share in Maharashtra cabinet expansion

BJP snatches lion's share in Maharashtra cabinet expansion with Devendra Fadnavis grabbing Home, Finance & Planning, Law & Judiciary, Water Resources, Housing, Energy and Protocol portfolios.

The puppet & the puppeteer: Eknath Shinde and Devendra Fadnavis
)The puppet & the puppeteer: Eknath Shinde and Devendra Fadnavis

Five days after the induction of 18 ministers into his cabinet, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Sunday distributed portfolios, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) getting several key ministries, including the Home and Finance that will be handled by Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis.

Shinde kept Urban Development and 11 other ministries with himself.

Shinde, whose rebellion against the Shiv Sena leadership had led to the collapse of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, had taken oath as the chief minister on June 30 with the support of the BJP. Fadnavis was sworn in as his deputy.

In addition to Home and Finance and Planning, Fadnavis will also handle Law and Judiciary, Water Resources, Housing, Energy and Protocol portfolios.

Another important portfolio - the Revenue Department - has been given to BJP leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, who had quit the Congress a few months before the 2019 Assembly elections to join the saffron party.

Shinde had expanded his two-member ministry on Tuesday, 41 days after taking oath as the chief minister by inducting 18 ministers - nine each from his rebel Shiv Sena group and the BJP. However, the list did not include any woman.

Apart from the Urban Development Department, CM Shinde has kept with himself General Administration Department, Public Works Department (public sector undertakings), Information and Public Relations, Transport, Marketing, Social Justice, Disaster Management, Relief and Rehabilitation, Soil and Water Conservation, Environment and Climate Change and Minority Development.

From the BJP's side Chandrakant Patil, Sudhir Mungantiwar, Girish Mahajan, Vijaykumar Gavit, Suresh Khade, Ravindra Chavan, Atul Save and Mangal Prabhat Lodha were inducted as ministers.

Meanwhile, Fadnavis on Sunday said: "There is no dispute between the BJP and CM Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena over the portfolio distribution. If required, we can exchange some portfolios ahead of the next cabinet expansion."

He was responding to a query about himself and Shinde holding several portfolios among themselves. Maharashtra cabinet's maximum allowed strength is 43.

(With PTI inputs)

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