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Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde to expand two-member ministry today

Altogether, 18 ministers will be sworn in

PTI07_19_2022_000194A Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde | PTI

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde will expand his two-member ministry on Tuesday, 41 days after he took oath as the CM. Shinde was sworn in as the chief minister and Devendra Fadnavis took oath as deputy CM on June 30. The swearing-in ceremony will be held at Raj Bhavan in south Mumbai at 11am.

Altogether, 18 ministers will be sworn in, a former minister told PTI on condition of anonymity. They will include nine each from the Shinde group and BJP. This would take the strength of the Maharashtra ministry to 20, less than half the maximum allowed strength of 43.

The next round of expansion would take place later.

Shinde, who emerged as a surprise choice for the top post after managing to take a major chunk of Shiv Sena MLAs with him following the rebellion in June, will have a difficult task to accommodate all of them in the ministry. From the Shinde group, names of Uday Samant, Dada Bhuse, Sandipan Bhumre, Rajendra Patil Yadravkar, Shambhuraj Desai, Gulabrao Patil, Sanjay Shirsat, Deepak Kesarkar and Bachchu Kadu are doing the rounds.

From the BJP, state party chief Chandrakant Patil, Sudhir Mungantiwar, Girish Mahajan, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Suresh Khade, Atul Save, Mangalprabhat Lodha, Vijaykumar Gavit and Ravindra Chavan are likely to be inducted. The CM has made seven visits to New Delhi in the last one month, and with every visit there was talk that the ministry expansion was round the corner. Leader of opposition in the Maharashtra assembly Ajit Pawar said Shinde had promised a ministerial berth to every MLA who joined him. Now Shinde is unable to fulfil his promise, hence the delay in cabinet expansion. The chief minister should disclose reasons for the delay, Pawar said. 

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