Aaditya inducted in Uddhav cabinet

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray expanded his over a month-old ministry by inducting 36 ministers, including his 29-year-old son Aaditya, while NCP leader Ajit Pawar was sworn in as deputy chief minister.

Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari administered oath to 14 ministers from NCP, 10 from Congress and 12 from Shiv Sena at Vidhan Bhavan in south Mumbai.

The expansion, which raised the strength of the state ministry to 43, came over a month after the Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government came to power.

The 36 ministers sworn in on Monday include 10 cabinet and four ministers of state of the NCP, eight cabinet and four MoS of Shiv Sena, and eight cabinet and two MoS of Congress. The NCP now has 12 cabinet ministers and four MoS, the Shiv Sena has 10 cabinet ministers and four MoS while Congress has 10 cabinet ministers and two MoS.

Pawar was sworn in to the post for the second time in just over a month. Pawar had taken oath as deputy CM on November 23 after he rebelled against the NCP and joined hands with the BJP. However, he resigned on November 26, leading to collapse of the three-day Devendra Fadnavis government.

Senior Congress leader and former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan did not find place in Thackeray’s ministry. There is speculation that he may lead the state Congress unit.

The Shiv Sena kept its senior leaders Ramdas Kadam and Diwakar Raote, who were ministers in the previous Devendra Fadnavis-led government, out of the new council of ministers. Instead, it included allies Shankarrao Gadakh (of Krantikari Shetkari Paksh) as cabinet minister, and Rajendra Patil Yedravkar (Independent) and Bachchu Kadu (Prahar Janshakti Party) as ministers of state. Senior NCP leaders Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh, who were ministers in the previous Congress-NCP government, also found place in the ministry. The two leaders were defeated in the 2014 Assembly polls but emerged victorious in the state elections held in October this year.

NCP leader and former Assembly speaker Dilip Walse Patil, former leader of opposition in the Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde and former LoP in Assembly Vijay Wadettiwar were also sworn in. Balasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut of Congress, Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai of the Shiv Sena and Jayant Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal of the NCP took oath along with Thackeray.

The size of council of ministers cannot exceed 15 per cent of the total number of MLAs, which is 288 in the state. As a result, Maharashtra can have a maximum 43 ministers.

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