Nagpur: With the soaring mercury the political atmosphere in the State too is getting steamy as the much-talked expansion of Fadnavis Cabinet seems to be on the cards. The-Shiv Sena Government has completed over 18 months. Initially, the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis began his stint with a very small ministry but later expanded it with inclusion of “craving faces.” But now again, many aspirants have started “feeling the berth pangs” and started lobbying for the coveted posts. Recently, Fadnavis had a meeting with BJP National President Amit Shah in Delhi and the ministry expansion was one of the topics of discussion among other issues.
According to sources, several of non-performing ministers in his Cabinet could be shown the door as many new faces could be given chance. In the recently held local body elections, BJP had to lick dusts. Similarly, elections to Municipal Corporations and a few Zilla Parishads too on the cards and the induction of new faces in the Cabinet could help in salvaging the prestige.
The Fadnavis Cabinet could see expansion as well as reshuflle of key portfolios most likely after declaration of results of Assembly elections of five states including Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamilnadu and Puducherry. The date could be May 20 or thereafter. At present, many ministers are holding additional portfolios. Such ministers could be divested of the “extra” responsibilities and the new faces could be assigned with the jobs.
The present ministers who could be shown the doors could be Pravin Pote, Vidya Thakur, Ambarish Atram, Vijay Deshmukh, Dadaji Bhuse, Babanrao Lonikar and Rajkumar Badole. Similarly, Eknath Khadse could be divested of Agriculture and Excise portfolios. On the other hand, Ram Shinde and Dilip Kamble could get promotion and made Cabinet Ministers.
During his media interaction at Maharashtra Sadan, the state guest house in New Delhi, Fadnavis said, “The Centre has already given its go-ahead for a cabinet expansion. I will first talk to Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray and then elaborate on my plan.” Of the total 42 ministerial berths, currently there are only 30 ministers in the Cabinet. Of the 30, BJP has 20 ministers and the Sena, 10 ministers. There is a scope to fill up 12 berths, of which two will be given to the Shiv Sena and 10 will remain with the BJP. The BJP may include smaller alliance partners supporting the government — such as the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, the Rashtriya Samaj Party, the RPI and the Shiv Sangram — as part of the 10 and keep the remaining six berths for its own party candidates.