After Presidential polls, stage set for cabinet expansion in Maharashtra
With Presidential elections concluding on Monday, the stage is now set for cabinet expansion in Maharashtra. Although the final date for the exercise is still under discussion, insiders in the BJP said cabinet expansion was high on the party’s agenda and will take place, in all probability, in the fourth week of July.
On June 30, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis were sworn in at Raj Bhawan, marking the formation of a new political alliance – the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shinde faction of the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.
While indicating that cabinet expansion exercise was put on hold in the wake of the Presidential polls, a senior BJP functionary said, “The Centre and state leaders were extremely busy with elaborate plans for Presidential polls. This could be a reason behind the delay in carrying out the cabinet exercise.”
A few insiders were quick to cite the example of the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government which took three months to form the cabinet after assuming power in 2019. In comparison, keeping cabinet expansion on hold for three weeks is not unusual, they said.
Highly placed sources said, “The cabinet expansion will be in two phases. In the first phase, the total number of ministers who will be administered oath will be restricted to smaller numbers. It will be followed by a second phase after a few months.”
The total permissible strength of the cabinet in Maharashtra is 43 (including the CM).
Both Fadnavis and Shinde have worked out the seat-sharing formula and sought the approval of the central party leaders.
Keeping in sight the short span of two-and-a-half years which is available to the newly elected government, the criteria for shortlisting the ministerial candidate will be experience and performance. The individual will be under pressure to deliver administrative results to impress upon the people the alliance’s good governance image, sources said.
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