Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde — who expanded his cabinet on August 9 — retained the urban development department and allocated the crucial home and finance portfolios to his deputy Devendra Fadnavis. Notably, Shinde has also kept the environment portfolio, which Aaditya Thackeray earlier helmed, a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office said.
Shinde has also kept with himself 11 other departments including general administration, PWD, information and public relations, transport, marketing, social justice, disaster management, relief and rehabilitation, soil and water conservation, and minority development.
BJP seems to have cornered all the plum portfolios with party MLA Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil being made the new revenue minister, who will also handle the animal husbandry and dairy development departments. Senior BJP MLA Sudhir Mungantiwar will be heading forestry, cultural activities, and fisheries, while former state party chief Chandrakant Patil will helm the departments of higher and technical education, textile industry and parliamentary affairs.
Shiv Sena MLA Tanaji Sawant is the new state health minister. Other Sena MLAs Abdul Satar and Deepak Kesarkar have been allocated the agriculture, and school education departments, respectively. Gulabrao Patil is the new water supply and sanitation minister, while Sanjay Rathore will head the food and drug administration department.
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BJP’s Girish Mahajan is the new sports and youth welfare minister, and will also look after village development and panchayati raj, and medical education departments. BJP MLA Vijayakumar Gavit will handle tribal development and Sena MLA Uday Samant is the new industry minister.
Maharashtra cabinet’s maximum allowed strength is 43.
Meanwhile, Fadnavis on Sunday said the BJP and the Shiv Sena faction led by Shinde could exchange portfolios, if needed, ahead of the next cabinet expansion. “There is no dispute between the BJP and CM Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena over the portfolio distribution. If required, we can exchange some portfolios ahead of the next cabinet expansion,” said Fadnavis while responding to a query about himself and Shinde holding several portfolios among themselves.
Earlier this week, Shinde expanded his cabinet more than 40 days after being sworn in as the Maharashtra CM. As many as 18 leaders — nine each from the BJP and Shinde-led Shiv Sena camp — were inducted into the Maharashtra cabinet.
(With PTI inputs)
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