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Maharashtra Cabinet expansion: Independents, smaller parties left out in cold

The independents and small party MLAs however have been left out even though some of them were sitting ministers, such as Bachchu Kadu and Rajendra Yadravkar.

Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and the newly-sworn in ministers. (Express Photo by Amit Chakravarty)

EVEN AS all the nine rebel Shiv Sena MLAs, who were ministers in the earlier government, were inducted in Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s Cabinet on Tuesday, the 10 independent and small party MLAs who also joined the Shinde camp have been left out.

The Cabinet expansion saw 18 MLAs inducted on Tuesday, nine each from the Shinde camp and the BJP. Those from the Shinde camp who made it are Uday Samant, Sandipan Bhumare, Gulabrao Patil, Dada Bhuse, Shamburaj Desai, Abdul Sattar, Tanaji Sawant, Deepak Kesarkar, and Sanjay Rathod — all of them have been ministers earlier.

The independents and small party MLAs however have been left out even though some of them were sitting ministers, such as Bachchu Kadu and Rajendra Yadravkar.

Kadu, a minister in the earlier MVA government, said there must be representation of small parties and the independents and that the government would not run without them. However, he also added that he has been promised a place in the next Cabinet expansion scheduled in September. “I was promised that I will get a ministry but it looks like there were some issues. I have been promised that I will get it in the next expansion. I want to work for physically challenged people and hence, have asked for that portfolio,” Kadu said.

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Yadravkar, who was minister of state in the MVA government, said, “I don’t know why a ministry was not given to me. There could be some issues. Neither am I complaining nor do I have any expectations. If it has to happen, then it will happen. Ultimately, we have to work for people and that is our motto.”

Meanwhile, speaking to mediapersons in Pune, women will get appropriate representation in the Cabinet.

Fadnavis, who was in Pune to inaugurate the Yuva Sankalp Mahotsav, an event to mark 75 years of India’s Independence, said, “The objection that there is no woman minister in the newly formed cabinet will be addressed soon. Women will get appropriate representation in our Cabinet.”

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On criticism from Opposition leaders, the BJP leader said the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government did not have a single woman in the Cabinet during its initial days and hence, “they do not have any right to comment on the (Eknath) Shinde government”.

As per a senior leader in the Shinde camp, former Sena ministers on their side were given a priority in this expansion because some of them had left their ministerial positions in support of the new coalition.

Out of the 55 Shiv Sena MLAs, 40 had rebelled to join the Shinde faction, exceeding the two-third majority mark, which is important as per the anti-defection law to save them from disqualification.

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Including Shinde, there were ten Sena MLAs who were ministers in the earlier governments and all have been inducted into the Cabinet to ensure there are no defections from the group.

A senior leader said, “There were possibilities of defection from the group if those who held ministry in the past did not get one in this government. At a time when the issue of formation of the government is in court, even if four rebel Sena MLAs defect, the Shinde faction will not have the two-thirds majority and as per the anti-defection law, all of them could be at a risk of disqualification. Hence, they were given a priority.”

With ENS Pune

First published on: 10-08-2022 at 00:50 IST
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