Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Saturday said the functioning of the Maharashtra government has not been affected in any way due to the delay in Cabinet expansion and that more ministers will be inducted soon.
Shinde made the remarks in response to questions about the delay in Cabinet expansion since the change of guard in the state on June 30. He was speaking to mediapersons after he arrived in Delhi along with Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on a two-day visit.
Shinde and Fadnavis are in Delhi to attend a meeting of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav National Committee chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday evening and the NITI Aayog Governing Council meeting on Sunday. Sources said during their visit, they are likely to discuss the list of probable ministers with the central BJP leadership.
Speaking to mediapersons in Delhi, Shinde said, “The work of the government has not been affected in any way. The decision making process has not been affected. I and the deputy chief minister have been taking decisions and there is no impact on the working of the government.”
“This visit to Delhi is not at all connected with the expansion of the council of ministers,” he added. “The Cabinet expansion will happen at the earliest” was Shinde’s refrain to questions about the delay.
Earlier this week, Fadnavis was in Delhi to hold meetings with the BJP leadership to discuss the political situation in the state even as the Supreme Court continued to hear a bunch of petitions in connection with the change of government in Maharashtra. Shinde, who was indisposed and advised rest by doctors, had stayed back in Mumbai.
Shinde and Fadnavis have been holding fort as a two-member Cabinet, apparently awaiting the decision of the SC before adding new members to the council of ministers. The SC is likely to hear the petitions related to Maharashtra government formation on Monday. A source in the BJP said, “Since the matter is before the SC, the BJP top leadership believes it should wait for clarity.”
On Friday, Shinde had visited Fadnavis’ residence at Sagar Bungalow in Mumbai. A source said, “They may have finalised their list of Cabinet ministers.”
Another source added, “The BJP and the Shinde faction of Shiv Sena have worked out a reasonable formula… It is expected that BJP will get 25 ministers while 15 will be from the Shinde faction. A couple of ministers representing smaller parties/Independents could also be considered.”