MUMBAI: NCP leader Ajit Pawar was on Monday sworn in as the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra for the second time in two months. Pawar, who stepped down as deputy CM in short-lived Devendra Fadnavis government on November 26, is now back in the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress coalition government led by Uddhav Thackeray.
Monday's Cabinet expansion in Maharashtra saw NCP's Ajit Pawar and Shiv Sena's Aditya Thackeray among those being inducted as ministers.
Aditya Thackeray is Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's son and the first member of the Thackeray clan to have contested and entered the Assembly. Ajit Pawar is the nephew of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and had briefly broken away to join hands with the BJP to form the shortlived Devendra Fadnavis government.
Around 30 members were inducted in Monday's expansion. The Cabinet expansion comes 32 days after Uddhav Thackeray was sworn in as Chief Minister of a coalition comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress parties, known as Maha Vikas Aghadi. Currently, the ministry comprises of seven members apart from the Chief Minister.
Earlier, when the Shiv Sena and BJP had been allies and fought the assembly elections, Aditya Thackeray had been projected as the Deputy Chief Minister. However, when the alliance broke and Shiv Sena tied up with the NCP and Congress to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, his father Uddhav Thackeray became the Chief Minister.
Ajit Pawar who was the Deputy Chief Minister in the shortlived Fadnavis government, has since returned to the NCP fold and it was widely believed that he would be rehabilitated.
Ten members from the Congress also took oath as ministers. Notables include former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, Amit Vilasrao Deshmukh, the son of late former Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.