BJP gets plum portfolios in Maharashtra Cabinet; Shinde faction inherits Sena’s past positions

Deputy Chief Minister now in charge of Home, Finance and Planning, Law and Justice, and Water Resources

August 14, 2022 05:22 pm | Updated August 16, 2022 01:00 pm IST - Pune:

Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde. File

Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde. File | Photo Credit: PTI

Less than a week after the expansion of the new Maharashtra cabinet, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Sunday announced the portfolios for the 18 ministers inducted in the first phase.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Ministers (particularly Mr. Fadnavis) largely kept the portfolios that were held by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in the erstwhile Maha Vikas Aghadi government (of the Shiv Sena, the NCP and Congress), the Sena faction led by Mr. Shinde kept those that were held by the Shiv Sena and the Congress in the previous regime.

The allocation was announced after the list was approved by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

With more than 20 Cabinet berths yet to be filled, Mr. Shinde has decided to keep the Urban Development portfolio along with General Administration, Information and Technology, Public Works (Public Projects), Transport, Relief and Rehabilitation, along with others yet to be allotted.

The BJP now holds many of the plum portfolios. Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was given Home, Finance and Planning, Law and Justice, and Water Resources.

Senior BJP leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil (a long-time Congressman who switched sides in 2019) was given the Revenue, and Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development portfolios.

Atul Save, BJP MLA from Aurangabad and a first-time Cabinet Minister, was given the crucial Cooperation portfolio, which many thought would be allotted to Mr. Vikhe-Patil.

Sudhir Mungantiwar was allotted the Forest, Cultural Affairs and Fisheries portfolio, while former BJP State president Chandrakant Patil was given Higher and Technical Education.  

In contrast to the fellow BJP leaders, other Ministers of the Shiv Sena (Shinde faction) seem to have been allotted ‘lesser’ portfolios.

Exceptions in the Shinde faction were Tanaji Sawant, who was given Public Health and Welfare; Uday Samant, who was given Industries; and Abdul Sattar, who was allotted the Agriculture portfolio.

Portfolio allocation is fluid: Fadnavis

Stressing there was “no rift” whatsoever between the two coalition allies over the portfolio allocation, Mr. Fadnavis said the arrangement was “not a watertight one.”

“There is no rift between us over the portfolio distribution. If they [the Shinde faction] feel they want something or we [the BJP] feel that we want some portfolio, then we can easily come to an arrangement. Now that we have been given our responsibilities by the Chief Minister, it is our duty to fulfil them to the best of our abilities,” Mr. Fadnavis said.

The next phase of the Cabinet expansion is the CM’s prerogative and that only Mr. Shinde himself knows when it will take place, he added.

The first phase of the long-pending expansion of the new Maharashtra cabinet was carried out on August 9 with a total 18 legislators - nine from the Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde faction) and nine from the BJP - being sworn-in as ministers.

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