Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray downplayed his skipping the oath ceremony of Fadnavis’s Cabinet expansion for not getting cabinet birth for his MLA’s and said it was in line with the earlier formula agreed to with the BJP.
“There is no need to think of any weird reason as to why I did not go for the (oath taking) ceremony. We had made a particular formula. According to that, we have got the two MoS berths. That was the assurance given to us then (by the BJP) which was fulfilled,” Thackeray said.
Speaking to reporters at Nair hospital in Mumbai, Uddhav said said the “speculation” that his party was refused a Cabinet berth by the BJP was planted by Opposition parties, which did not want the Sena to be a part of the government.
“If somebody feels that we had made any new demand of a Cabinet berth nothing of that sort has happened,” said Thackeray.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis inducted 10 new faces in the ministry and elevated BJP’s Ram Shinde to Cabinet rank, leaving the bickering ally Sena to settle for two additional MoS.
The exercise raised the strength of the ministry to 41, of which 27 are from the BJP, 12 from Shiv Sena and two from minor partners Rashtriya Samaj Party and Swabhimani Party.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis expanded his state cabinet to fill up portfolios rendered vacant after the resignation of senior minister Eknath Khadse over corruption charges last month.
Maharashtra CM has been handling a lion share of portfolios after the resignation of his senior cabinet colleague Khadse. Eknath had 10 portfolios when he was a minister in the Maha government.
The expansion comes ahead of the Monsoon session starting July 18 and two days before Fadnavis begins his four-day Russia tour on July 10. Of the 11, six legislators sworn-in as Cabinet ministers, including Ram Shinde who was elevated to the rank. He was earlier Minister of State for Home (rural).
Sena MLAs Arjun Khotkar, from Jalna in Marathwada region, and Gulabrao Patil, from Jalgaon in north Maharashtra, were inducted in the ministry as junior ministers.
Patil hails from former BJP minister Eknath Khadse’s home turf Jalgaon, while Khotkar belongs to Jalna, the native district of state BJP president Raosaheb Danve.
The BJP legislators sworn-in as Cabinet ministers include former state party president Pandurang Fundkar, Dondaicha (Dhule) MLA Jaykumar Rawal, Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar from Nilanga and Solapur MLA Subhash Deshmukh.
BJP legislators Ravindra Chavan and Madan Yerawar were sworn in as Ministers of State. The other five, including two of Shiv Sena, two of BJP and one of another alliance partner, were sworn-in as MoS.