Mumbai,UPDATED: Jul 14, 2023 16:30 IST
By Sahil Joshi, Ritvick Arun Bhalekar: In a development that could create fissures in the fledgling ruling alliance in Maharashtra, Ajit Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) faction has secured finance and six other departments in the Cabinet expansion.
The expansion comes almost two weeks after Ajit Pawar and eight NCP MLAs joined the Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra government.
In the Maharashtra Cabinet expansion, the Ajit Pawar faction secured finance and planning, food and civil supplies, cooperatives, women and child development, agriculture, relief and rehabilitation, and medical education departments.
WHO GETS WHAT IN MAHARASHTRA CABINET EXPANSION
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar will keep the finance and planning department.
Dhananjay Munde and Hasan Mushrif will hold Agriculture and medical education departments respectively, while Chhagan Bhujbap will oversee Food and Civic supplies.
Dharmarao Atram will take charge of Food and Drug Administration department, and Aditi Tatkare will hold Women and Child Welfare department.
Officials from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) reached Raj Bhavan, the official residence of the Governor today, to finalise and submit the list of portfolio distribution. The list, once approved by the Governor, will be forwarded to the Chief Secretary for further action.
On July 2, Ajit Pawar and eight NCP MLAs took oath as ministers in the Maharashtra government. The surprise move led to a split in the Sharad Pawar-led outfit.
The induction of NCP leaders, the latest entrant in the ruling Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coalition, triggered a tussle over the allocation of portfolios. A standoff between the Ajit Pawar camp and the Eknath Shinde faction delayed the Cabinet expansion for weeks.
The Maharashtra Cabinet now has nine ministers from the BJP, nine from the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena and nine from the NCP, apart from the chief minister and two deputy chief ministers. It can have a maximum of 43 members.
The allocation of the plum finance portfolio to the NCP is a major win for Ajit Pawar, who lobbied for important portfolios for his party men during his meetings with Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
ALSO READ | How Ajit Pawar outsmarted his uncle Sharad Pawar