Fadnavis cabinet gets 13 new faces including former Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil
The Maharashtra CM said that his government has already started planning for another term, and, hence, the cabinet expansion should be seen as an attempt to build a new team for another five years.
MUMBAI: Thirteen new ministers were inducted into the Maharashtra cabinet on Sunday.
Speaking to reporters on the eve of the Monsoon session of the Assembly, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “We have tried to strike a regional balance.”
Refuting claims that the new cabinet appointments have been made with an eye on the forthcoming assembly elections, Fadnavis said that his government has already started planning for another term, and, hence, the cabinet expansion should be seen as an attempt to build a new team for another five years.
While 13 new members were drafted into the cabinet, five sitting ministers were dropped.
“They (the ministers) tendered their resignations, which were accepted,” the CM said.
It had been widely speculated that Lokayukta’s strictures against housing minister Prakash Mehta, coupled with a need to accommodate new members of the BJP and ally Shiv Sena in the cabinet, prompted the much-awaited expansion of Fadnavis’ team.
As was expected, former leader of opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, who rebelled against the Congress and switched to the BJP after his son Sujay was denied a ticket for the Lok Sabha elections, and NCP legislator Jaidutta Kshirsagar, who joined the Shiv Sena a month ago, were both inducted as ministers.
Others to be inducted into the cabinet include BJP leaders Ashish Shelar (Mumbai), Anil Bonde (Amravati), Sanjay Kute (Buldhana), Ashok Uike (Yavatmal), Parinay Phuke (Bhandara), Atul Save (Aurangabad), Suresh Khade (Sangli), Sanjay Beghde (Maval) and Yogesh Sagar (Mumbai), RPI(A)’s Avinash Mahatekar (Munbai) and Shiv Sena’s Tanaji Sawant (Yavatmal).
Five of the 13 new ministers hail from Vidarbha, while three each are from Mumbai and western Maharashtra. Marathwada got two cabinet berths and North Maharashtra got a lone berth.
“All the new ministers are experienced,” Fadnavis said of the inductees.
Among those who have tendered their resignations are three cabinet ministers — Prakash Mehta (housing), Vishnu Savra (tribal development) and Rajkumar Badole (social justice) — and two ministers of state — Raje Ambarish Atram (tribal development) and Dilip Kamble (social justice). All are from the BJP.
“All fared well as ministers. However, the party felt the need for change and hence, we brought in new faces,” the CM said.