Nagpur: The much-awaited expansion of the Cabinet is likely to take place on December 23. Eighteen new ministers — six each, from the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress — will be sworn in at Raj Bhavan in Mumbai.
Contrary to earlier reports of a 43-member Cabinet after expansion, only 18 ministers will be inducted as the ruling parties are still not in agreement over the number and distribution of portfolios.
Each of the six ministers have been assigned seven to 10 portfolios, and the Sena has said that these portfolios will remain with the respective parties.
From the Sena, Ramdas Kadam, Diwakar Raote, Gulabrao Patil, Sunil Prabhu, Anil Parab and Deepak Kesarkar are the likely candidates.
Congress leaders Prithv-iraj Chavan, Ashok Chavan, Vijay Wadet-tiwar, Varsha Gaikwad, Vishwajit Kadam and Amin Patel; and the NCP’s Ajit Pawar, Dilip Valse-Patil, Hassan Mushrif, Rajesh Tope, Nawab Malik and Jitendra Awhad are likely to be included in the Cabinet.
Cabinet expansion was delayed because of differences between the three parties over the number of cabinet berths and portfolios. Only six ministers had taken oath along with chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on November 28 and they were allotted portfolios just three days before the winter session of the Assembly began.
Despite the Shiv Sena saying that there are too many senior leaders from all three parties and that they should make way for young MLAs, the expanded Cabinet, still, mostly comprises veterans and former ministers.
On Monday, an editorial in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana had said that the old guard is not ready to give up its ministerial berths to young leaders and that it should not be under the illusion that the state government cannot do without it.
The editorial had said that former state chief ministers Ashok and Prithviraj are keen on joining the council of ministers.