Maharashtra Cabinet expansion: Under pressure from BJP, Shinde likely to drop six ministers

In a recent meeting with Amit Shah, Shinde was asked to improve his government's performance following a series of negative public opinions on the incumbent government.
Maharashtra CM and Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde. (Photo | PTI)
Maharashtra CM and Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde. (Photo | PTI)

MUMBAI: The trouble continues to brew between Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde and the Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut.

Raut claimed that Union Home Minister Amit Shah had asked Shinde to drop six key ministers of the Shinde-led Shiv Sena citing non-performance and controversy as reasons.

In a recent meeting with Amit Shah, Shinde was asked to improve his government's performance following a series of negative public opinions on the incumbent government.

With speculation over a possible cabinet expansion — the BJP trying to induct six more MLAs as ministers, while Shinde is expected to induct four more from his camp.

It is being discussed that meetings of senior BJP leaders have also been held in Delhi for this purpose. At the same time, it is coming to light that the BJP leaders in Delhi are unhappy with the work of a few ministers of the Shinde group in the current cabinet.

"BJP wants to improve its tally in the Maharashtra Cabinet so that they can have the upper hand in decision-making,” said sources requesting anonymity.

However, CM Eknath Shinde is reluctant to the changes fearing this move might damage his government and the dropped ministers might go back to Uddhav Thackeray. 

The following Shiv Sena ministers are expected to be dropped:

  • Ports and Mining minister Dada Bhuse from Malegaon
  • Water supply minister Gulabrao Patil. 
  • Health minister Tanaji Sawant. 
  • Minister for Food and Drug Administration Sanjay Rathod. 
  • Agriculture minister Abdul Sattar. 
  • Employment Guarantee Scheme & Horticulture minister Sandeepan Bhumare

NCP leader Eknath Khadse claimed that all is not well between Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde and BJP.

“Maharashtra CM’s son Dr Shrikant Shinde who is Kalyan Dombivali Lok Sabha MP offered his seat to BJP, this shows us how much pressure Mr Shinde is facing under the BJP. It is true that Shinde was also asked to drop these controversial and non-performing ministers so that BJP can accommodate more MLAs as ministers. There is deadlock over it, therefore the cabinet expansion has been delayed till the logjam is sorted out,” Khadse claimed.

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