Shinde faction may not find place in Maha cabinet expansion: Shiv Sena (UBT)

Mumbai: The ruling Shiv Sena in Maharashtra on Thursday said the state cabinet’s expansion and allocation of portfolios are most likely to happen on July 14, but the rival faction of the party said it doubts the MLAs belonging to the Eknath Shinde-led camp would be accommodated in the new ministry.

On July 2, senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar and eight other legislators of his party took oath as ministers in the Maharashtra government. The surprise move led to a split in the Sharad Pawar-led outfit.

The induction of the MLAs of the NCP, the latest entrant in the ruling Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coalition, has triggered a tussle over the allocation of portfolios.

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Ruling Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Shirsat on Thursday said the expansion of the cabinet and the allocation of portfolios are “99 per cent” likely to happen on Friday, even as his party colleague and minister Uday Samant maintained that it would be done at an “appropriate time”.

The Shiv Sena (UBT) took a dig at the ruling party, saying that it is doubtful that MLAs of the Shinde-led party would be accommodated in the cabinet and that the suits stitched by aspirants to attend the oath-taking ceremony may not see the light of the day.

Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council, Ambadas Danve, who belongs to the Sena (UBT), said it will be difficult for the BJP to satisfy the people they have pulled together.

It is not impossible, but it is very difficult to meet the expectations of MLAs of the three parties, he said.

“There is an imbalance of number of MLAs who want to become a minister and actual posts available. There is a lot of discontent among the BJP workers,” Danve said.

In such a case, the cabinet expansion is a challenging task, he added.

“There is still no allocation of portfolios (to the NCP MLAs who took oath as ministers), so when will another round of cabinet expansion take place? It appears that the new suit they have switched is likely to remain unused,” Danve said.

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut said it was doubtful that cabinet expansion would happen because it would lead to an explosion of anger in the two ruling groups – the Shiv Sena and the NCP.

“All the ministers from the Ajit Pawar faction are heavyweights who have served as deputy chief minister, home minister so they will need to be given portfolios of that stature. On the other hand, the Shinde faction will have to suffice over peanuts,” the Sena (UBT) Rajya Sabha member said.

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