Amid a mad rush for ministerial berths from the legislators from the Shinde camp and BJP, top sources on Tuesday hinted that the cabinet expansion may take place after the Ashadhi Ekadasi slated for July 10 when CM Eknath Shinde will perform the traditional Pooja at Vitthal Rakhumai temple in Pandharpur.
The expansion is likely to take place on July 12 or 13. Shinde along with Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis met the union minister Piyush Goyal on Monday night and held a discussion on the distribution of portfolios between the two and the size of the cabinet. They also discussed the preparations for the NDA’s candidate for the Presidential Election Draupadi murmurs visit to Mumbai for poll campaigning.
The CM and DCM expect the cabinet expansion before the Presidential election slated on July 18.
A senior leader from the Shinde camp told the Free Press Journal, ‘’ There are many aspirants from 40 legislators from Thackeray camp who have moved to the Shinde camp. Besides, there is a long list of aspirants in BJP too. Both the Shinde camp and BJP face a major challenge of giving ministerial berths to MLAs without upsetting the new combination. Therefore, it is taking time. Very soon CM and DCM are expected to meet PM Narendra Modi, HM Amit Shah and BJP president JP Nadda and thereafter the cabinet expansion are on the cards.’’
Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis hinted that the cabinet expansion will take place soon. “We will expand the cabinet soon. We did not have time to hold a meeting on the issue. The majority of us were busy with the trust vote which was won by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde who later went to Thane while I came to Nagpur. We will sit tomorrow or a day after to discuss the formula and later disclose it,’’ he added.
BJP sources said considering the number of its legislators and supporting MLAs the party will have the upper hand in the cabinet. ‘’There will be a proper mix of experienced and new legislators who will get the ministerial berths,’’ he opined.