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Maha Portfolio Puzzle: CM Shinde Keen on Cabinet Expansion, Ajit Pawar Firm on Finance, to Meet Shah

প্রতিবেদক
bdnewstimes
জুলাই ১২, ২০২৩ ৪:৫৯ অপরাহ্ণ


(L-R) Devendra Fadnavis, Eknath Shinde and Ajit Pawar. (File pic/Twitter)

(L-R) Devendra Fadnavis, Eknath Shinde and Ajit Pawar. (File pic/Twitter)

Currently, there are 29 ministers in the state cabinet that has a maximum strength of 43, while the list of aspirants is long. Ajit Pawar is expected to meet Amit Shah tonight, seeking his intervention to end the deadlock over portfolio distribution and cabinet expansion

Yet another late-night meeting over portfolio distribution and cabinet expansion between Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde and his deputies Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar remained inconclusive. According to sources, Pawar is still adamant about his demand for the finance ministry. They added that he will be flying to Delhi on Wednesday night to meet union home minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah and seek his intervention to solve the issue of portfolio distribution and cabinet expansion in Maharashtra.

Sources also indicated that in Tuesday’s meeting, Ajit Pawar proposed a reshuffle of cabinet portfolios once again but Shinde refused. The CM who is under pressure from his Shiv Sena MLAs made it clear to Pawar that portfolios will be distributed after the cabinet expansion and the Nationalist Congress Party faction will not get ministries from the Sena quota. Ajit Pawar has asked for departments like finance, irrigation, tourism, women and child development, social justice, rural development, etc. Sources also said that Pawar has asked for one cabinet berth at the Centre.

It’s been more than 10 days since nine NCP MLAs including Ajit Pawar have been without portfolios after breaking away from the Sharad Pawar-led party and joining the BJP-Shiv Sena government. The monsoon session of the Maharashtra assembly will begin in five days and that’s why Ajit Pawar is putting pressure on Shinde to announce the portfolios. But for the CM, the expansion of the cabinet is the priority as Shiv Sena and BJP MLAs have been waiting for the past year to get cabinet berths.

Maharashtra can have a maximum of 43 cabinet ministers. As of now, 29 of these positions have been filled and the list of ministerial aspirants has grown lengthier. “It would be a very difficult task for CM Shinde to choose the cabinet ministers. There is a chance that he may consider factors like caste while picking MLAs for cabinet berths, the way Ajit Pawar has tried to give representation to OBC, SC-ST, and minorities while selecting MLAs who had taken oath as cabinet ministers with him,” said a senior leader from the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Independent MLA Bacchu Kadu, who had supported Eknath Shinde during his rebellion in the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena that brought down the Maha Vikas Aghadi government last year, told reporters in Nagpur, “Ajit Pawar should not get the finance department as there is a fear in the minds of MLAs that he may not give them funds for development of their constituencies. Shinde is trying run this ‘triple-engine government’ but it may fail also or it may be successful.”

Shiv Sena MLA Bharat Gogawale said he was confident that by Thursday names of cabinet ministers and portfolio allocation would be cleared and the expansion would happen.



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