NCP likely to get 16 ministries, Shiv Sena expected to be allocated total of 15 portfolios.
Mumbai: The Maharashtra Cabinet expansion will take place on Monday, a senior Congress leader said, requesting anonymity. Eight ministers and two junior ministers from Congress are likely to be inducted into the Cabinet, in addition to its two present ministers, Balasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will be entrusted with a total of 16 ministries, while the Shiv Sena is expected to be allocated a total of 15 portfolios, including the urban development department.
An official said that the state could have a 43-member council of ministers, which is 15 per cent of the total strength of the 288 -member Assembly. Meanwhile, the office of governor B.S. Koshyari issued a clarification, stating that it did not issue a circular instructing the chief minister to conduct the Cabinet expansion before 2.00 pm on December 30. In a press note, public relation officer Umesh Kashikar said that no instruction, oral or written, pertaining to the Cabinet expansion had been issued. The clarification was issued after reports were published suggesting that the governor had directed that the Cabinet expansion must take place by December 30.
A senior leader said that the Congress was still negotiating among its leaders. “Some senior leaders are delaying the Cabinet expansion. Besides, Congress has demanded the public works department and housing department from the Shiv Sena. To address these issues, Congress leaders are holding discussions with the Sena.
“Former chief ministers Prithviraj Chavan and Ashok Chavan are willing to work under chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. However, Ashok Chavan is likely to be made energy minister or the PWD minister,” he added. If Prithviraj Chavan joins the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), he will be given the school education department. However, the Delhi leadership does want him to join the state government, instead; he should play a role in national politics and work to strengthen the party.
A senior NCP leader said that Ajit Pawar would be made deputy chief minister and he would be given the home department. Moreover, Mumbai NCP chief Nawab Malik is likely to join the government as the labour minister, housing minister or minister for minority affairs.