Nagpur: As many as 10 ministers of state will find berth in the new cabinet of BJP-led NDA government of CM Devendra Fadnavis, the expansion of which is due before Winter Session of Maharashtra Legislature. One berth in the cabinet from Nagpur quota is likely to be given to RPI (Athawale) faction in stead of BJP.
According to a BJP leader, the BJP President has given green signal for cabinet expansion and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s formal consent is awaited. He said that out of 12 vacancies, 10 will be filled as ministers of state; with 4 ministers of state form BJP.
Earlier when the issue of cabinet expansion was underway, the name of MLA from East Nagpur, Krishna Khopde had emerged, but later his name got delisted, because he belonged to Teli community, as there cannot be two members in the cabinet from the same community and from the same district, fearing a protest in the party. At this development, Khopde demanded that he should either be placed on the post of chairman of some corporation or board, or allowed to remain as BJP’s city president.
The BJP leader further said, on the basis of proportionate representation, one member each from Rashtriya Samaj Paksh, Shiv Sangram, RPI (A) and Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathan and two members from Shiv Sena would be inducted int the cabinet. He informed that two vacancies would be left pending for BJP. The Maharashtra cabinet at present has 30 ministers, of which 18 are of cabinet level while 12 are of state level. The expanded cabinet will have 42 ministers.
The names of whoever BJP MLAs that have emerged for cabinet berth from Nagpur district include Krishna Khopde, Sameer Meghe, Ashish Deshmukh and Vikas Humbhare. Khopde’s name was delisted, and there emerged the names of Meghe and Deshmukh from Kunbi lobby, both supporters of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. The Nagpur district has 10 Gakari-loyalist MLAs.
According to sources, CM prefers Bhupesh Thulkar from RPI(A) faction from Nagpur quota to Gadkari-loyalists, just to complete the quota of Nagpur district. MP Ramdas Ahthwale has given consent on Thulkar, despite opposition within the party.
Politics is quite unpredictable in terms of likes and dislikes, so some BJP candidate may also be seen representing Nagpur quota in the expanded cabinet.