Allies demanded that the BJP should go ahead with the cabinet expansion plans at the earliest.
A meeting was held at the residence of PWD Minister Chandrakant Patil to discuss about the cabinet expansion which will happen after the winter session of Maharashtra assembly. The meeting was attended by BJP and its allies. Allies like Shiv Sena, RPI, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana and Rashtriya Samaj Paksha had become aggressive and demanded that the BJP should go ahead with the cabinet expansion plans at the earliest. The meeting was attended by Maharashtra BJP president Raosaheb Danve, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana’s Raju Shetti, Sadabhau Khot and RPI leader Ramdas Athawale. Shiv Sena held the BJP responsible for delaying the cabinet expansion plan.
RPI leader Ramdas Athawale said, “The BJP should allot us ministerial berths at the centre and state. We had offered support to the BJP during the assembly and Lok Sabha polls hence we deserve representation.”
Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana, President, Raju Shetti said, “The BJP should fulfil all the promises made by it before coming to power. They should try to accommodate allies and must not sideline them.”
On the other hand, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was not keen to go ahead with the cabinet expansion. He also failed to issue any comment about the cabinet expansion plan.
Danve had earlier announced that the cabinet expansion will be held before the state government completes its one year but the Fadnavis government has failed to implement it. He later said that the expansion will happen after receiving a nod from the centre. All the allies are eyeing plum posts. On the other hand, BJP has been delaying the cabinet expansion plan as it is worried about a backlash from those leaders who are denied ministerial berths. Therefore, the saffron party will take a decision in this regard after the commencement of the winter session of the state assembly. The winter session is scheduled to commence on December 7 and end on December 23. All the government offices will be shifted to Nagpur in the first week of December for the purpose.
If cabinet berths are allotted to RPI and Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana then their ministers will not be able to get elected within six months. Since 10 seats will be vacant in the Legislative Council in July hence ministers can get elected if the cabinet expansion is undertaken after the winter session.
Fadnavis took oath as the Chief Minister on October 31 last year with seven cabinet and two ministers of state.
When Shiv Sena joined the government later, the strength of the ministry increased from 10, including CM, to 30. At present, there are 20 ministers from BJP and ten from Sena.
As per constitutional provisions, Maharashtra assembly, which has a total of 288 MLAs, can have 42 ministers — 15 per cent of the total strength.