Mumbai: The Supreme Court verdict has cleared the way for the much-delayed expansion of the Cabinet.
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said at his press conference that the Cabinet would be expanded “soon”, though he did not elaborate.
19 ministers likely to be added
According to sources, now that the stability of the government has been ensured, the next big task on cards is the Cabinet expansion. The Cabinet currently has 20 members and 19 are likely to be added to the list, the sources said.
Shinde and Devendra Fadnavis were sworn in as chief minister and deputy chief minister, respectively, on June 30, 2022. Later 18 MLAs were inducted into the Cabinet. While 18 portfolios were allocated to MLAs from both parties in August last year, Shinde and Fadnavis together hold 20 portfolios. Maharashtra can have a maximum of 43 ministers as the size of the Council of Ministers cannot exceed 15% of the total number of MLAs, which is 288.
There is still room to accommodate 23 more MLAs as ministers. Only nine legislators out of 50 from the Shinde faction have so far been accommodated. While the Cabinet expansion will help contain restlessness among these 50 MLAs, it may also help the Shinde faction attract more legislators to the fold, the sources said.
According to the sources, at least 14 MLAs from the Shinde faction expect a place in the Cabinet, while the BJP has a much longer list. A few rounds of discussions between the MLAs and the BJP top brass in Delhi are expected before the expansion, the sources said.
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