Mix of heavyweights, young Turks; Maharashtra Cabinet set to expand on December 30
(ANI Photo)

Mumbai: The Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress have gone in for a mix of heavyweights and new faces for ministerial berths in the much-awaited expansion of the council of ministers slated for December 30.

This apart, the three constituents of Maha Vikas Aghadi have made every attempt to give representation to various regions depending on their respective strengths. In all, 36 ministers comprising 10 cabinet ministers each from the Shiv Sena and the NCP and eight from the Congress will be sworn in.

The Shiv Sena has decided to recognize party MP Sanjay Raut's key role in the formation of the government and his brother and party legislator Sunil Raut will be made a minister with cabinet rank. Further, former minister of state Ravindra Waikar will be elevated to cabinet rank. CM Uddhav Thackeray's blue-eyed boy and party MLC, advocate Anil Parab, is also set for induction.

The party may retire the old guards, including Ramdas Kadam and Diwakar Raote. Thackeray may give them organizational responsibilities. In the cooperative dominated western Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena will include former home minister Balasaheb Desai's grandson Shambhuraje Desai and legislator Prakash Abitkar. In Vidarbha, party legislator Sanjay Raimulkar and former minister of state Sanjay Rathod, along with an independent Bacchu Kadu, will be inducted.

From the drought-hit Mara-thwada region, where Shiv Sena has consolidated its hold since 1980, former cabinet minister Tanaji Sawant will get another term.

In the Konkan region, former minister Bhaskar Jadhav, who had left the Shiv Sena to join the NCP and rejoined the party ahead of the assembly election, and former minister Uday Samant will get ministerial berths.

The firebrand leader and former minister of state Gulabrao Patil from north Maharashtra will get another term.

As far as the NCP is concerned, veteran leader Ajit Pawar, who had joined hands with the BJP to become deputy chief minister for 80 hours and later returned to the party fold, will take oath as deputy chief minister.

Other heavyweights, including Dilip Walse Patil, Hasan Mushrif, Nawab Malik, Jitendra Avhad, Dhananjay Munde, Rajesh Tope, Anil Deshmukh, Rajendra Shingane, along with five-term legislator Balasaheb Patil, will be given cabinet rank.

The NCP is set to induct first-time legislator and Raigad Zilla Parishad president Aditi Tatkare and Manohar Chandrikapure, who has won for the first time from Arjuni Morgaon which is a part of Bhandara-Gondiya Lok Sabha seat; they will be ministers of state.

In the case of the Congress, former chief minister Ashok Chavan will become a cabinet minister. In addition, the young brigade comprising Amit Deshmukh, Satej Patil, Praniti Shinde, Amin Patel, Sangram Thopte and Vishwajeet Kadam will get a ministerial berth. Former leader of opposition Vijay Wadettiwar, veteran tribal leader KC Padvi, former minister Sunil Kedar and legislator Yashomati Thakur are also tipped to be ministers.

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