Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday inducted thirteen new faces in his cabinet; including ten from the Bharatiya Janata Party, two from Shiv Sena and one from the Republican Party of India (RPI). The long pending cabinet expansion comes just three months ahead of the assembly polls.
Political heavyweights– former senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and former senior Nationalist Congress Party leader Jaydutt Kshirsagar – who had joined the BJP and Shiv Sena respectively, got cabinet berths. The expansion also gave a leg up to several BJP legislators, rewarded for their performance in the assembly or recent elections or for being party loyalists.
Several new ministers are also seen to be close to Fadnavis.
Six ministers including housing minister Prakash Mehta, tribal development minister Vishnu Sawra, social justice minister Rajkumar Badole, ministers of state Ambarish Atram, Pravin Pote and Dilip Kamble were dropped over performance issues.
Prakash Mehta, Ghatkopar legislator and sole Gujarati face in the cabinet was dropped to preempt attacks by the opposition in the monsoon session beginning on Monday.
Mehta earned negative remarks in the Lokayukta report on the MP Mill compound scam. He allegedly tried to pass on the benefit of additional buildable rights from a slum rehabilitation project to a private builder.
Out of the thirteen new ministers, eight were inducted as cabinet ministers and five as ministers of state.
6 BJP leaders, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Ashish Shelar, Dr Suresh Khade, Dr Anil Bonde, Sanjay Kute and Dr Ashok Uike were taken in as cabinet ministers while Sanjay Bhegade, Yogesh Sagar, Dr Parinay Fuke, and Atul Save were inducted as junior ministers.
The Shiv Sena got two cabinet minister berths for both Kshirsagar and Solapur MLA Tanaji Sawant. The Republican Party of India (A) leader Avinash Mahatekar got a minister of state berth.
“The reshuffle has been done on the back of an analysis of the last four and a half years of performance. It was done by CM Fadnavis and cleared by national president Amit Shah. It may be little late but we have got a younger and more capable team ahead of the assembly polls,’’ said water resources minister, Girish Mahajan.
All the ministers who were dropped were given a chance to perform but were not up to the mark said a senior BJP leader.
While the reshuffle maintains regional and caste balances, it couldn’t replace the loss of two tribal ministers.
One minister each from Vidarbha and Mumbai were inducted. Vidarbha has maximum representation in the cabinet with 10 ministers while Mumbai has 8.
“As CM Fadnavis told us yesterday, think of this as a T20, we have to perform from day one to ensure our schemes reach people ahead of the elections. We will take whatever responsibility our captain gives us,’’ said Bonde, two-term BJP legislator from Morshi in Amravati.
Jun 16, 2019 14:20 IST