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Maharashtra cabinet expansion likely before December 7

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is likely to expand his council of ministers before the winter session of the state legislature starts in Nagpur on December 7, a BJP leader said.

“The expansion is likely next week,” the leader said.

Accordingly, four berths will go to smaller allies– Rashtriya Samaj Paksha, RPI (A), Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana and Shiv Sangram Party. Shiv Sena will get two berths and BJP four. “Two berths in BJP quota will not be filled now,” the leader, who did not wish to be named, said.

Fadnavis is likely to visit Delhi soon to discuss the expansion with the party’s central leadership as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he added.

The council of ministers can have a maximum of 42 ministers, including the CM, in Maharashtra.

There are at present 20 ministers from BJP, ten from Shiv Sena and none from the other four allies.

Shiv Sena today said that BJP should take the decision on expansion quickly. “We are ready for expansion any time. Sena is not a hindrance to the expansion exercise. Chief Minister and BJP should decide quickly,” senior Sena minister Subhash Desai said.

“With the expansion, new people will get the chance to work,” Desai told reporters in Navi Mumbai.

BJP had recently held parleys with the smaller allies in this regard. State BJP chief Raosaheb Danve met the RPI leader Ramdas Athawale, RSP chief Mahadev Jankar, SSS leader Raju Shetti and Vinayak Mete of Shiv Sangram Party.

Mete and Jankar are members of the Legislative Council.

Fadnavis took oath as the Chief Minister on October 31 last year with seven cabinet ministers and two ministers of state. When Shiv Sena joined the government in December, the strength rose to 30.

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