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Maharashtra Cabinet expanded, NCP’s Jitendra Awhad sworn-in as minister

Jitendra-AwhadNCP leader Jitendra Awhad was on Thursday sworn-in as minister in the Prithviraj Chavan government.

He joined the government as part of the Cabinet expansion.

Governor K Sankaranarayanan administered the oath of office to Awhad, the working president of NCP’s Maharashtra unit, at the Raj Bhawan.

Awhad was the only minister who took oath at the ceremony.

NCP, which is Congress’ ally in the state government, has brought in Awhad to fill up the vacancy created by the ouster of Vijaykumar Gavit.

Gavit, a regional heavyweight, was expelled from NCP after his daughter Heena Gavit contested from Nandurbar Lok Sabha constituency on a BJP ticket. She went on to win the seat by defeating 9-term Congress MP Manikrao Gavit.

The last reshuffle took place in June 2013 when NCP dropped Ramraje Naik-Nimbalkar, Laxman Dhobale, Gulabrao Devkar, Babanrao Pachpute, Bhaskar Jadhav, and brought in Sanjay Savkare, Uday Samant, Shashikant Shinde, Madhukar Pichad and Dilip Sopal.

The Assembly elections in Maharashtra are due later this year. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan is under attack from within the state Congress following the debacle in Lok Sabha elections. The BJP-Shiv Sena combine swept the state, with Congress-NCP alliance suffering major losses.

Congress’s tally in Maharashtra slumped to an all-time low of two in the Lok Sabha elections, while NCP’s tally fell to four. The state sends 48 MPs to the Lok Sabha.

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