Cabinet reshuffle likely before monsoon session starts

Mumbai: The Maharashtra Cabinet may soon be expanded. All eyes are on induction of former Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil into the cabinet. Vikhe-Patil may get Agriculture portfolio since the Democratic Front government, he had worked as Agriculture minister. The cabinet expansion is most likely to take place on June 14 or 15. Maharashtra’s Finance Minister and senior BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar on Tuesday said a cabinet expansion can take place before the beginning of the monsoon session of the Assembly. The monsoon session of the Assembly will start on June 17 which will be the last one of the legislature before state polls commence later in the year.

On Tuesday, Vikhe-Patil met Maharashtra CM Fadnavis, even as speculations were rife that the former Congress leader could join the BJP and be inducted in the Maharashtra cabinet. He is likely to officially join the BJP on Wednesday or Thursday, sources said. During Congress-NCP’s Democratic Front government, Vikhe-Patil has done a remarkable job as Agriculture minister. Being a leader from Sugar belt, he can be considered for Agriculture minister’s post. Incidentally, the Agriculture department does not have a full time minister after the death of Pandurang Fundkar. Currently, Chandrakant Patil is handling additional charge of this ministry along with Revenue and PWD. Speaking to reporters at Mantralaya here after a cabinet meeting, he said there were some vacant ministerial posts from the BJP and Shiv Sena quota, adding “they will all get good news before the beginning of the monsoon session”.

Currently Food and Drug Ministry portfolio too is vacant as Girish Bapat resigned after he won 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Shiv Sena too has a vacancy from its quota after Dr Deepak Sawant’s retirement as Member of Legislative Council. Keeping an eye on the assembly election, BJP and Shiv Sena need to accommodate leaders from various parts of the state.

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