Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's long-overdue cabinet expansion has taken place today in Mumbai. A total of 36 ministers have sworn in from the three parties- Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP.
The first from the Thackeray clan to contest and win an election- Aaditya Thackeray, former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, Nawab Malik were some of the big names to secure a berth in Uddhav's cabinet. However, today's biggest newsmaker is undoubtedly NCP leader Ajit Pawar who took oath as the Deputy Chief Minister, twice in 38 days and this time in broad daylight.
In an early morning unprecedented move on November 23, Ajit Pawar took oath as Deputy Chief Minister while Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
Pawar's move came at a time when deliberations between Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena had reached the final stage. The previous night, NCP chief Sharad Pawar had made clear that the alliance is backing Uddhav Thackeray to lead the government.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi was a result of BJP and Shiv Sena parting ways post the Assembly Elections' results were declared. Both parties were hell bent on wearing the Chief Minister's throne and neither of them budged.
Ajit Pawar's alliance with BJP was shortlived almost all the MLAs backing him moved to the elder Pawar's camp. He resigned on November 26, following which Fadnavis also threw in the towel, resulting into the collapse of the government that lasted for only 80 hours.
This is for the fourth time that the 60-year-old Ajit Pawar has become the Deputy Chief Minister- the first being in November 2010, then October 2012, later in November 2019 for barely 80 hours, and again on today.
The only other leader to hold the post more than once is his senior NCP colleague - Chhagan Bhujbal in October 1999 and December 2008.
All others Nasikrao Tirpude, Sundarrao Solanke, Ramrao Adik, Gopinath Munde, R.R. Patil (all deceased) and Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil- have occupied the post only once.
(With Input from Agencies)