Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis expanded his cabinet on Friday by inducting 20 ministers, taking its strength to 30 with the lead partner BJP weighing more in favour of candidates from the Vidarbha region, which yielded rich dividends for the party in the state polls. BJP’s alliance partner Shiv Sena that formally joined the government chose to include more candidates from its stronghold — Mumbai and Thane — in the cabinet.
The 20 new ministers took the oath of office at a simple function held on the lawns of Vidhan Bhawan in south Mumbai on Friday. After the expansion, BJP has 20 ministers, while Sena has 10 representatives in the government. Five each from BJP and Sena were given cabinet positions, while an equal number from both the parties were made ministers of state.
Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray along with his family members attended the function where all the Sena ministers evoked the name of Bal Thackeray while taking the oath.
From Shiv Sena, Diwakar Raote, Eknath Shinde, Subash Desai, Deepak Sawant and Ramdas Kadam took oath as cabinet members, while Girish Bapat, Girish Mahajan, Chandrashekhar Bawankule, Rajkumar Badole and Babanrao Lonikar were BJP’s fresh inclusion in the cabinet.
Meanwhile, with Shiv Sena joining the government, Congress has now staked its claim over the Leader of Opposition post in the assembly for its legislature party leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil.
BJP sources said that apart from ensuring a regional balance, the party has also tried to accommodate candidates belonging to Maratha, OBC, Tribal, Scheduled Caste and Brahmin communities to convey a message that the party was committed to inclusive politics. They said given the fact that BJP managed to win 43 of the 62 seats it contested in Vidarbha, those who won from that belt had to be given a preference. The CM himself is from Nagpur.
The other five ministers were from western Maharashtra (two), north Maharashtra (two) and Marathawada (one). BJP’s Vidarbha representation was in form of Chandrashekhar Bawankule (OBC), Rajkumar Badole (SC) and Amrish Atram Raje, a tribal from Gadchiroli.
In a marked departure from the past, BJP has inducted two members of Legislative Council — Praveen Pote and Ranjit Patil — in the government.
Similarly, Shiv Sena, whose strength is primarily in Mumbai, Thane and Konkan, appeared to have decided on its selection of ministers keeping in mind the party’s vote base. Five ministers from the party were from Mumbai and Thane.
Sena too appears to have leaned in favour of members from Legislative Council by going for Diwakar Raote, Deepak Sawant, Subash Desai and Ramdas Kadam.
Total ministers who took the oath: 20
Cabinet rank ministers: 10
Girish Bapat (BJP); Girish Mahajan (BJP), Chandrashekhar Bawankule (BJP); Babanrao Lonikar (BJP); Rajkumar Sudam Badole (BJP); Diwakar Raote (Shiv Sena); Subash Desai (Shiv Sena); Ramdas Kadam (Shiv Sena); Eknath Shinde (Shiv Sena); Deepak Sawant (Shiv Sena)
Ministers of State: 10
Ram Shinde (BJP); Vijay Deshmukh (BJP); Amrish Atram Raje (BJP); Ranjit Patil (BJP), Praveen Pote (BJP); Sanjay Rathod (Shiv Sena); Dadaji Dagdu Bhuse (Shiv Sena); Vijay Shivtare (Shiv Sena); Deepak Kesarkar (Shiv Sena); Ravindra Waikar (Shiv Sena)