Maharashtra cabinet expanded, portfolio allocation likely today
Geetanjali Minhas | December 31, 2019
Thirty-two days after taking oath as chief minister, Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has expanded his council of ministers by inducting 26 cabinet ministers and 10 ministers of state (MoS). The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar was sworn in as the deputy chief minister in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) cabinet.
Monday’s cabinet expansion also includes Aaditya Thackerey who is the first member of Thackeray family to contest elections. The young Shiv Sena leader won the assembly polls from Worli constituency and is said to be playing active role in both the government and the party.
The 36-minister cabinet has 14 MLAs from the NCP, 12 from the Shiv Sena and 10 belong to the Congress. Two members from each of the MVA alliance partners had taken oath on November 28, alongside Uddhav Thackeray. The CM said the portfolio allocation would be done by Tuesday or Wednesday. Including the chief minister, the cabinet now has a full strength of 43 ministers in the 288-member assembly.
Ajit Pawar, a seven-term MLA, is deputy CM for the fourth time. He is the nephew of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar. On Monday he took oath for the second time in less than 40 days, after November 23, when in the early hours he had taken oath along with Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP but quit hours before a supreme court-ordered floor test took place. The BJP, though the single largest party with 105 seats, could not prove majority because of differences with its former ally, Shiv Sena, over rotational sharing of the chief minister’s post. Pawar had earlier been inducted as deputy CM in November 2010, October 2012 and November 2019.
The leaders who took oath on Monday include former chief minister and senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan, Amit Deshmukh, Varsha Gaikwad, NCP leader and former assembly speaker Dilip Walse Patil, former leader of opposition in the legislative council Dhananjay Munde, and former leader of opposition in the assembly Vijay Wadettiwar. The NCP’s Nawab Malik, Anil Deshmukh. Jitendra Awhad, Hasan Mushreef and Rajesh Tope were also sworn in.
Shankarrao Gadakh of the Krantikari Shetkari Paksha was also inducted as a cabinet minister. Rajendra Patil Yedravkar, an independent, and Bachhu Kadu of the Prahar Janshakti Party were given the MoS rank.
Senior Congress leader and former chief minister Prithiviraj Chavan, the key architect of MVA, opted out of the race in favour of younger candidates from the party as he was not inclined to work in junior position. Speaking to Governance Now, Chavan, who is also a former union cabinet minister and has vast political and administrative experience, said he was not inclined to work in a junior position. “With Bala Saheb Thorat leading our group, I am happy and it is not fair to deny chance to young people. I am always there to protect the interest of the Congress in the government,” he said. Asked to comment on reports suggesting he could be given the charge as state Congress president, Chavan said there had been no discussion on this and if asked, he will think about it.
Senior Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut was not present at the swearing-in ceremony which took place at the Vidhan Bhavan in south Mumbai. Many Sena allies too were absent after the party allotted berths to three independents.
How much time do Indians spend talking on phone? It is on average 761 minutes per month, according to a new report from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The telecom regulator released its report, titled ‘The Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicators: July-Septemb
Renowned cardiologist Dr Ramakanta Panda has said that the pandemic has exposed the inadequacy of existing healthcare systems and it is wrong to draw comparisons with Korea, a country with the population equal to that of a single Indian state. While speaking to Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Gove
The committee of experts appointed by the supreme court to deliberate with the stakeholders on the new farm laws held its first meeting here Tuesday, with one of its members saying that all stakeholders, including individual farmers, will be heard. Hearing a petition on the farm laws enacted
The nationwide vaccination campaign launched Saturday, the largest such exercise in the world, has started setting new benchmarks, with vaccines administered to 2,24,301 beneficiaries in the first two days. “India has vaccinated the highest number of persons on Day1 under its COVID19 v
The Maharashtra government has announced a spending of Rs 2,500 crore annually to develop infrastructure of state-owned distribution company Mahavitaran (MSEDCL). Out of the total amount, Rs 1,500 crore will be spent on energisation of conventional agriculture pumps and Rs 1,000 crore
India on Saturday began the massive vaccination drive against Covid-19, as prime minister Narendra Modi paid tributes the ‘corona warriors’. “Such a vaccination drive at such a massive scale was never conducted in history. There are over 100 countries having less than 3 cro