Maharashtra portfolios: Shinde keeps Urban Development, Fadnavis gets Home, Finance
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Sunday announced portfolios to the recently inducted ministers of his cabinet, ANI reported. Shinde has decided to keep Urban Development, Environment, Minority, Transport, and Disaster Management with himself while allocating crucial ministries of Home and Finance to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Why does this story matter?
Maharashtra's chief minister, Eknath Shinde, gained control of a faction of the Shiv Sena following his rebellion along with other MLAs. The revolt reduced the Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition's government to a minority, and Uddhav Thackeray resigned as the CM on June 29. Shinde was sworn in as Maharashtra's CM on June 30 with the support of 40 Shiv Sena MLAs and the BJP.
Shinde expanded cabinet recently
Early this week, CM Shinde expanded his cabinet, 41 days after taking the oath of office. He inducted 18 ministers - nine each from his rebel Shiv Sena group and the BJP. With this move, the strength of the Maharashtra ministry had gone up to 20, less than half of the maximum allowed strength of 43.
Crucial decision following political turmoil
The decision comes only days after the state emerged from recent political turmoil. As per the official statement, Shinde will be in charge of general administration, urban development, information, and public relations, the Public Works Department, and other portfolios not assigned yet. It said Fadnavis will handle Home, Finance and Planning, Law and Justice, Water Resources and Command Area Development, Housing, Energy, and Protocol.
BJP gets key portfolios
According to the statement, the BJP minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil will be the next revenue minister of the state. Sudhir Mungantiwar, another BJP minister, was reassigned to the Forest Ministry, a position he previously held. Former state BJP president Chandrakant Patil has been appointed as the next minister of higher and technical education. Patil will also oversee legislative matters.
What did Sena leaders get?
Deepak Kesarkar, a Shiv Sena rebel, is the new education minister, while Abdul Sattar is the new agricultural minister. Other Sena leaders who have been allocated portfolios include Dada Bhuse, Shambhuraje Desai, Sandeepan Bhumre, Uday Samant, Tanaji Sawant, Gulabrao Patil, and Sanjay Rathod. Sawant was handed the Public Health and Welfare department, while Samant was given the Industries responsibility.
Shinde faction, BJP may contest Lok Sabha elections together
To recall, Fadnavis had stated that among many strongholds which the BJP is now targeting also include those held by Shiv Sena leaders who joined Team Shinde. "Since Shiv Sena and BJP will contest the Lok Sabha elections as a coalition, the BJP will work to ensure the victory of the sitting Lok Sabha members from these constituencies," the Deputy CM of Maharashtra stated.
Thackeray's fate hangs in balance
Shinde has a good chance to seize the leadership of the Sena if the Supreme Court upholds the sub-judice speaker's decision. In that case, Thackeray would be completely isolated within the party that his father founded. However, this would be a breach of the anti-defection law, which specifies that a party may only save its membership by merging a group with another party.