Mumbai

Six days after swearing-in, ministers still await portfolios

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Cabinet likely to be expanded close to winter session

Nearly a week after the swearing-in ceremony at Shivaji Park, Maharashtra’s ministers are yet to get portfolios. Allocation of ministries and Cabinet expansion are likely to take place close to the Assembly’s winter session, which begins in Nagpur on December 16.

All six ministers and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday were allotted their respective cabins in Mantralaya, without portfolios. Neither the staff nor other officials took charge of routine work. The ministers attended review meetings convened by Mr. Thackeray.

Senior Cabinet minister Jayant Patil said the expansion and distribution of Cabinet portfolios will be completed in a few days’ time. According to sources, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders are yet to reach a consensus on the distribution of portfolios and the names of MLAs to be inducted as ministers.

A senior Congress leader said, “We have to keep all the regional equations in mind as well as the seniority of some of our leaders before finalising the process. The process is on and soon a decision will be announced.”

As far as the NCP is concerned, there is still a question mark over the induction of Ajit Pawar into the Cabinet. Party president Sharad Pawar in an interview to Marathi news channel ABP Majha on Monday said the party will decide on whether to include Ajit in the Cabinet. He refrained from giving a confirmation on the issue.

However, NCP sources said Ajit will be part of the State Cabinet. “We have a number of former ministers and thus the availability of ministerial berths is less. We will soon finalise the names,” said a NCP leader.

On the other hand, government officials are clueless as to which minister will table answers to the starred questions posed by MLAs in the winter session. “It appears, if the portfolio distribution and expansion gets delayed, each minister will be given a group of portfolios and the secretaries of those departments will report to the minister for the time being,” said an official.

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 7:13:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/six-days-after-swearing-in-ministers-still-await-portfolios/article30153715.ece

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