The Uddhav Thackeray Cabinet of Maharashtra was expanded at 1 PM today. Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aaditya Thackeray has been included in the cabinet. Apart from this, 10 INC MLAs may take oath as ministers. Among them, former Chief Ministers Ashok Chavan, Amit Deshmukh, Yashomati Thakur and KC Padvi took oath as ministers. Ashok Chavan may get PWD ministry. According to sources, INC politician and former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan is reported to be upset because he has not been made a minister.
Senior INC leader Mallikarjun Kharge did not reveal the names of the MLAs from his party who are going to take the oath of the minister but they gave information about the cabinet expansion.
The 10 INC MLAs who took oath as ministers are Ashok Chavan, KC Padvi, Vijay Vadettivar, Amit Deshmukh, Sunil Chhatrapal Kedar, Yashomati Thakur, Varsha Eknath Gaikwad, Aslam Sheikh, Satej alias Bunty Patil and Vishwajit Patang Rao Kadam.
The inclusion of Aslam Sheikh in the Thackeray Cabinet marks yet another ideological departure by the Shiv Sena. Sheikh was among the signatories who had appealed for mercy for terror convict Yakub Memon.
Apart from this, 13 MLAs each of Shiv Sena and NCP took oath as ministers.
The name of Sunil Raut, brother of Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, is not included in the list. According to sources, Sunil Raut is upset with this and he may even resign from the post of MLA.
From Shiv Sena, Uddhav Thackeray appointed Aaditya Thackeray, Uday Samant, Abdul Sattar, Shankar Gadakh, Anil Parab, Sandipan Bhumre, Shambhuraj Desai, Yedgaukar, Sanjay Rathore, Gulab Patil and Dadaji Bhuse as ministers.
The chief minister included NCP’s Dharamrao Atram, Rajesh Tope, Dhananjay Munde, Nawab Malik, Sangram Jagatap, Hasan Mushrif, Anil Deshmukh, Aditi Tatkare and Raju Shetty in his council of ministers.
Earlier, NCP spokesman Nawab Malik had said that NCP workers wanted to see Ajit Pawar as the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra. This is very likely to happen after today’s oath ceremony.
Uddhav Thackeray was sworn in as Chief Minister at Shivaji Park on 28 November. A small cabinet of six ministers was sworn in at that ceremony, too, which included two ministers from each of the three parties of the coalition Maha Vikas Aghadi.
Sharad Pawar’s nephew Ajit was the deputy chief minister in the Congress-NCP government prior to 2014. After this Assembly election, Ajit had joined hands with caretaking Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on 23 November and become deputy chief minister again. However, within 80 hours, Ajit had to resign and the Fadnavis said holding a floor test had turned an exercise in futility because the MLAs of NCP who had promised to join his government had withdrawn their support.
The Shiv Sena-NCP and six INC ministers had been sworn in on 28 November under the leadership of Thackeray.
As many as 36 ministers took oath in today’s exercise of Maharashtra cabinet expansion. At present, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has six ministers in his cabinet. Under the power partnership between Shiv Sena, NCP and INC, Shiv Sena can have 16 ministers besides the chief minister while the NCP can have 14 and INC 12 ministers. The INC got its quota of 12 ministers, of which two had taken oath earlier and the remaining 10 were sworn-in on 30 December.
Meanwhile, the brief period for which the Shive Sena-NCP-INC coalition has been in power in Maharashtra, a few ideological issues have cropped up, rocking the government at an early stage.