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BJP’s fallout, Sena’s gain

The Bihar poll verdict has forced the Fadnavis government to rejig the ministerial portfolios and give a fair representation to its allies.

UdhavBJP’s severe drubbing in the Bihar polls is also impacting the Maharashtra politics. The saffron party which had earlier sidelined its partner Shiv Sena and other smaller allies is keen to go for cabinet expansion in the winter session of the state legislature which will commence from December, 7 in Nagpur. Sena is likely to get a ministerial berth in the centre too. Earlier Sena and other allies had expressed their displeasure over denying ministerial berths to them. The Bihar poll verdict has forced the Fadnavis government to rejig the ministerial portfolios and give a fair representation to its allies. Political analysts say that BJP’s below par performance in the assembly polls has come as a blessing in disguise for Sena. Sena can now also bargain with BJP for more ministerial berths and keep the latter’s growth in the state in check. Prior to the Bihar election there was a power tussle between BJP and Shiv Sena. Sena was miffed with the big brother attitude of the BJP.

“At present there are 12 vacancies in the Council of Ministers. Out of the 12 vacancies, two will go to Shiv Sena and four to the smaller allies. The Chief Minister will take a call on whether to fill up all the six vacancies from the BJP quota or keep two pending,” state PWD Minister Chandrakant Patil.

“The expansion may happen before the Winter Session of the legislature,” he said.

Fadnavis took oath as the Chief Minister on October 31, last year with seven Cabinet and two Ministers of State. When Shiv Sena later joined the government, the strength of the ministry was increased from 10, including Chief Minister, to 30. At present, there are 20 ministers from BJP and ten from Sena.

Rashtriya Samaj Party MLC Mahadev Jankar, Republican Party of India’s Rajya Sabha MP Ramdas Athavale, Swabhimani Party’s Lok Sabha MP Raju Shetti and Shiv Sangram MLC Vinayak Mete are seeking that their parties get ministerial slots.

As per the constitutional provisions, the Maharashtra Assembly, which has 288 MLAs, can have 42 ministers which is 15 percent of the total strength.

On the other hand, Shiv Sena’s impressive showing in the Kalyan-Dombivali Municipal Corporation election has boosted the morale of party workers.  Sena had emerged as the largest party in KDMC with 52 seats out of 122 in the keenly fought election. The BJP, which was in alliance with Sena in the last KDMC elections could win only 42 seats.

After a month-long conflict, the Shiv Sena and the BJP have formalised a power-sharing formula for the Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Corporation. As per the arrangement, the Shiv Sena would hold the mayor’s post for four years and the BJP for one. The deputy mayor’s position would be held by the BJP for four years and the Sena for one year.

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