Nagpur: Finally the suspense over the expansion of the council of ministers headed by the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in Maharashtra is now over. The cabinet expansion will take place on December 24.
Maha Vikas Aghadi sources told FPJ, "In all 28 legislators comprising Shiv Sena (seven cabinet ministers and three ministers of state), NCP (eight cabinet ministers and three ministers of state) and Congress (six cabinet ministers and two ministers of state) will be sworn in. This is the first cabinet expansion after Thackeray along with six ministers took the oath of office and secrecy on November 28 at the sprawling Shivaji Park in Mumbai. Thereafter, Thackeray allocated portfolios on December 12 and they are currently facing the legislature in the ongoing winter session.’’
Sources said Shiv Sena and NCP have already prepared their lists of legislators to be in the cabinet expansion while Congress has yet to get the party high command’s approval.
After ensuing cabinet expansion, there will be clarity on who will hold home and urban development departments. Currently, both are held by Shiv Sena minister Eknath Shinde. However, there is a possibility that one of these two departments may be given to NCP.
Shiv Sena may keep home department in a bid to spread its wings while NCP will be happy to hold urban development to consolidate its strength in urban areas where its presence is insignificant.
Thackeray said he will soon disclose details with regard to cabinet expansion. On the other hand, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, who on Thursday met Thackeray and Congress general secretary in charge of Maharashtra Mallikarjun Kharge to discuss cabinet expansion. Pawar two weeks before had said that the expansion will take place only after the conclusion of the ongoing winter session on December 21.
Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president and revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat is expected to fly to Delhi on December 23 to get party president Sonia Gandhi’s nod.
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