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Modi Cabinet likely to be expanded soon

THE ASIAN AGE. | NITIN MAHAJAN
Published : Nov 3, 2019, 4:32 am IST
Updated : Nov 3, 2019, 4:32 am IST

While the BJP is the single largest party in the Assembly with 105 seats, its NDA ally Shiv Sena won 56 seats.

Sources in the BJP said that once the agreement on the issue is reached, official announcement of the date of Devendra Fadnavis’ oath taking ceremony will be made.
 Sources in the BJP said that once the agreement on the issue is reached, official announcement of the date of Devendra Fadnavis’ oath taking ceremony will be made.

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Council of Ministers may be expanded soon as the Bharatiya Janata Party is understood to have offered additional positions to its NDA ally Shiv Sena in exchange for support in Maharashtra government formation.

BJP sources said that negotiations between the BJP and Sena include possible additional allocation of departments to the Maharashtra ally. The expansion of Union Council of Ministers is also expected to accommodate Janata Dal (United). Sources said that a decision on possible representation of other allies, like the Apna Dal and the AIADMK, may also be taken.

The BJP and Shiv Sena have been at loggerheads over the power sharing arrangement in Maharashtra after the Assembly polls results were declared and the adjustment at the Centre is expected to bring the alliance back on track. Sources in the BJP said that once the agreement on the issue is reached, official announcement of the date of Devendra Fadnavis’ oath taking ceremony will be made.

Despite a pre poll alliance, the NDA partners have been unable to agree on government formation in the state. The fate of the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly has been hanging in balance ever since results were declared on October 24 as the two parties are squabbling over sharing power, especially Shiv Sena’s claim that a 50-50 formula, which includes sharing the chief ministership between the two allies, had been agreed and must be accepted. The BJP is adamant that Mr Fadnavis will be the CM for the full term.

While the BJP is the single largest party in the Assembly with 105 seats, its NDA ally Shiv Sena won 56 seats. The Opposition parties — Congress (44) and Nationalist Congress Party (54) — who also had a pre-poll alliance, are nowhere near the half-way mark.

BJP sources say that though the Shiv Sena has been posturing and playing hard to get it ever since the poll results, it is expected to eventually  come on board with the proposed power sharing formula. The BJP is also banking on the support of 13 Independent candidates elected to the House.

It was also felt that the newly elected legislators would like to avoid a constitutional crisis as the new state government has to be sworn-in on or before 7 November. The current term of the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly ends on 8 November.   

The BJP also hopes to end speculation over alliance troubles in Bihar by including the JD(U) in the Cabinet through the impending expansion. Sources said that the move would put to rest all speculation that the two parties are likely to part ways ahead of the state Assembly polls, scheduled for later part of next year.  

Sources also said that after talks are completed, the Cabinet expansion could take place before the winter session of Parliament which begins from November 18, or immediately after the Jharkhand Assembly elections in December.

Tags: narendra modi, modi cabinet, devendra fadnavis