Maharashtra Cabinet expansion soon, says CM Eknath Shinde

Maharashtra Cabinet expansion soon, says CM Eknath Shinde

Shinde’s statement that a cabinet expansion will take place soon is important in the light of legislators from his camp, especially Sanjay Shirsat, and an independent Bacchu Kadu, not hiding their displeasure over delays in the cabinet expansion.

Sanjay JogUpdated: Tuesday, January 24, 2023, 10:13 PM IST
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Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis | PTI

A cabinet expansion is on the cards, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said on Tuesday. Shinde, however, declined to divulge further details.

Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis attended a meeting chaired by Union home and cooperation minister Amit Shah on the proposed new cooperation policy.

However, the cabinet expansion did not come up for discussion with Shah, Fadnavis said after the meeting.

Shinde’s statement that a cabinet expansion will take place soon is important in the light of legislators from his camp, especially Sanjay Shirsat, and an independent Bacchu Kadu, not hiding their displeasure over delays in the cabinet expansion. Both were expecting to be inducted when Shinde had expanded his cabinet on August 9.

The chief minister does not want to take any decision on cabinet expansion in haste as he does not want to disappoint legislators who have joined him after he walked out of the Uddhav Thackeray led Shiv Sena. The ongoing legal battle in the Supreme Court and the Election Commission is another factor that is crucial in deciding the timing of the cabinet expansion as the legal and constitutional status of the government is at stake,” said a senior legislator from the Shinde camp.

There are many aspirants for cabinet berths in the Shinde camp and, therefore, the chief minister is taking time to weigh several factors, including the person’s capability to win elections.

There are 18 cabinet ministers, with nine each from the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena, apart from Shinde and Fadnavis. Shinde can induct 23 more ministers, including those of cabinet rank and ministers of state. Maharashtra can have a maximum of 43 ministers as the size of the cabinet cannot exceed 15% of the total number of legislators, which is 288.

Shinde and Fadnavis said they put forward the state government’s views on the proposed new national cooperation policy at the meeting chaired by Shah. This comes against the backdrop of Maharashtra being a dominant player in the cooperation sector and being ranked third in the world in sugar production. It is also a leading player in dairy, poultry, and related activities.

Issues with regard to income tax and loan to sugar factories came up for discussion, Fadnavis said, adding that some positive decisions are expected in a week in this regard.

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