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Maharashtra Cabinet Expansion likely today

MUMBAI: Maharashtra’s long-awaited cabinet expansion is finally expected to take place on Monday, more than a month after the Uddhav Thackeray-led government was sworn in.

Thackeray was sworn in as Chief Minister on November 28 with six ministers, two each from the Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP. The cabinet expansion is likely to see the entry of senior NCP leaders Ajit Pawar, Dilip Walse Patil, Hassan Mushrif and Jitendra Awhad. All eyes had been on the expansion for multiple reasons.

First, Ajit Pawar, who had given a jolt to the NCP and decided to form a short-lived government with the BJP, is keen on getting the home portfolio, currently with the Shiv Sena.

The NCP has been demanding the Home and Urban Development portfolios from the Sena. However, NCP leaders said the final call would be taken by NCP Chief Sharad Pawar. If Ajit Pawar becomes the Deputy Chief Minister, then the home department may go to other NCP leaders like Jayant Patil or Dilip Walse Patil to balance equations within the party. On Sunday, senior NCP leaders Sharad Pawar, Praful Patel, Ajit Pawar and State NCP Chief Jayant Patil held a long meeting to discuss portfolios.

Emerging from the meeting, Patil told reporters that the list of NCP MLAs who would be sworn in will be sent to the Chief Minister by the NCP Chief. He, however, indicated that there would be exchange of portfolios between the alliance partners. “These berths were allotted temporarily. We will wait for the Chief Minister to decide on the portfolios. You (media) will come to know about the portfolios by Monday night,” he said.

Source: Economic Times