Mumbai, Dec 30 (IANS) Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday expanded his cabinet by inducting 35 ministers — including his son Aditya Thackeray — comprising 25 of Cabinet and 10 of Minister of State rank.
Nationalist Congress Party senior leader Ajit Pawar was sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister for a record fourth time.
All the new ministers were sworn in this afternoon by Governor B.S. Koshyari outside the Maharashtra Legislature Complex, Nariman Point.
Welcoming the expansion, the ruling allies Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress leaders termed it as a “well-balanced” exercise by Thackeray giving appropriate representation to all sections, communities and regions in the state.
Aditya Thackeray has been made a Cabinet minister along with other Maha Vikas Aghadi heavyweights such as former Congress chief minister Ashok Chavan, ex-NCP Leader of Opposition in Council Dhananjay Munde, ex-Speaker Dilip Walse-Patil, NCP National Spokesperson Nawab Malik.
The cabinet has three women — NCP’s Aditi Tatkare (MoS) and Congress’ Varsha Gaikwad and Yashomati Thakur, both Cabinet rank — though the Sena has no woman representative in the government.
For the first since 2014, the ministry has a staggering four Muslims — Shiv Sena’s Abdul Sattar Nabi (MoS), NCP’s Malik and Hasan Mushrif, and Congress’ Aslam Shaikh, all Cabinet rank.
Other big names from the three parties include Anil Parab, Vijay Wadettiwar, Jitendra Awhad, Anil Deshmukh, Amit (Vilasrao) Deshmukh, Rajesh Tope, and MoS Satej Patil, Vishwajeet Kadam and Bachu Kadu.
Besides, there are other Cabinet ministers such as Sanjay Rathod, Gulabrao Patil, Dada Bhuse, Sandipan Bhumre and Uday Samant (all Shiv Sena), NCP’s Rajendra Shingane, Balasaheb Patil (both NCP), Sunik Kedar, K.C. Padvi (both Congress) and Shankarrao Gadakh (Krantikari Shetkari Party), MVA ally.
The other new MoS rank inductees are: Shambhuraj Desai, Dattatrau Bharne, Sanjay Bansode, Prajakt Tanpure and Rajendra Patil-Yadravkar, an independent who extended support to the MVA.
Earlier, on Nov. 28, Thackeray took the oath along with six other ministers — Eknath Shinde, Subhash Desai (both Sena), Jayant Patil, Chhagan Bhujbal (NCP), Balasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut (Congress).
After today’s expansion the total strength of the ministry goes up to 43, including CM Thackeray and DCM Pawar.