With the induction of Ajit Pawar as deputy chief minister and eight others from the NCP as cabinet ministers, the power-sharing equation in the Shinde-Fadnavis government is expected to change drastically. While the BJP, led by Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and NCP stalwarts under Ajit Pawar’s leadership, are both expected to dominate the ‘MahaYuti’ government. The ‘MahaYuti’ coinage has been minted by none other than Ajit Pawar.
On the other hand, Eknath Shinde, despite being the chief minister, will have to give weightage to ministers from the BJP and NCP, as most of them are able administrators and enjoy authority in governance.
Ministers From Shinde-led Sena Non-Performers
However, most of the ministers from the Shinde-led Shiv Sena have turned out to be non-performers though they have become known by virtue of the salvos they have aimed at their former boss Uddhav Thackeray and his outfit.
Shinde is expected to allocate portfolios to the nine ministers of the NCP, including Ajit Pawar, after the cabinet meeting slated for Tuesday. There is also a possibility that he may reshuffle some of the portfolios currently held by ministers from the BJP and his camp.
Shinde Holds 13 Departments
Currently, Shinde alone holds almost 13 departments, including urban development, general administration, information and technology, publicity, environment and transport. He is expected to allocate some of these to the newly inducted NCP ministers, who will use their expertise to bring in the much-needed transformation in their functioning. Further, Fadnavis holds seven departments, including home, finance, irrigation, power and housing.
In a bid to achieve the BJP’s ‘Mission 45-plus’ in the Lok Sabha elections and 200-plus seats in the state assembly polls, these pro-people departments will be crucial and some of these will be allocated to the NCP, in view of its people-handling skills.
The NCP is expected to get the portfolios of finance or power, transport, environment, social justice, relief and rehabilitation, women and child development.
NCP Ministers Are 'District Tycoons'
NCP leaders who have got ministerial berths are ‘district tycoons’ and they will use the opportunity not only for the party’s growth but to also get more funds from the state government and the Centre, to implement development projects. Similarly, the BJP, along with the NCP, will be instrumental in the makeover of the state government, to counter the ‘Khodke Sarkar’ image painted by the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray).
At a time when the fate of Shinde and 15 other legislators hangs in the balance, the combination of politically and administratively strong ministers from the BJP and NCP will either make him pull up his socks or perish, politically speaking.
Shiv Sena (UBT) spokesperson Sanjay Raut has claimed that Eknath Shinde will be eased out as Chief Minister very soon and replaced by Ajit Pawar. "I am saying this in front of television cameras," he added for good measure. He said the BJP joined hands with Ajit Pawar only to marginalise Shinde and his team. "The 16 MLAs with Eknath Shinde will be disqualified soon as per the Supreme Court's order. This is the reason why Ajit and others have been inducted," Raut claimed.