The Maharashtra Cabinet is likely to be expanded before the monsoon session of the State Legislature Assembly, which commences on July 17.
At the BJP’s core committee meeting held in New Delhi on Sunday, Maharashtra’s roadmap for the Assembly elections complete with changes in the state BJP and Cabinet was discussed at length. The BJP also discussed its poll strategy with alliance partners Shiv Sena and others at the meeting, which was chaired by BJP president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
The Assembly elections in Maharashtra are scheduled in September-October. “Maharashtra is in election mode. The core committee meeting discussed the roadmap to strengthen the organisation and administration for which some changes are necessary,” Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said. “The Cabinet expansion is likely before the monsoon session…,” he added.
On the search for a new state BJP president, he said, “It will be a collective exercise for all state units across the country for which a time-table is being drawn. I am not sure if change of state president will take place before the state monsoon session.”
Appointing a new BJP president in the state has been necessitated following the induction of Raosaheb Danve as Minister of State for Food and Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution in the Modi government. However, insiders indicated that if Shah continues to hold the party president post till the Assembly elections, the same would apply to all states where state presidents have become ministers.
Organisational changes will include upgrading general secretaries with additional responsibilities to bring in more accountability.
Fadnavis said Maharashtra was geared up for the Assembly polls and the Centre was being apprised of all necessary decisions and administrative challenges.
The CM refused to divulge details of the Cabinet reshuffle cum expansion. But sources in the party indicated that the highlight would be induction of new entrants to the party: former Opposition leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and former NCP youth leader Ranjitsinh Mohite Patil. Vikhe Patil has resigned from the Congress. His formal entry into the BJP is expected this week.
Another senior NCP leader Vijaysinh Mohite Patil is all set to quit the party. At least eight Congress and NCP members are keen on joining the BJP.