Mah CM quashes rumours about Cabinet expansion

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Mumbai, Mar 9 (UNI) Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh today quashed the rumours about possible Cabinet expansion, saying ''the issue was finished long back''.

''The issue of Cabinet expanion has ended as I will hold the additional charge of Minority Welfare Department, the new one, till the appointment of an new minister,'' said Mr Deshmukh while talking to reporters here.

The Chief Minister, who was in a good mood after the members of the Oppsotion attended the customary tea meeting, said he was expecting similar cooperation from the Opposition during the seven -week0-long Budget session, in which 16 bills are expected to be passed.

''We have agreed to have the discussions on functioning of the corporations,'' he said. Mr Deshmukh also said during the Budget, there would be discussion on the financial situation of the state.

The Opposition has alleged that the state was reeling under the debt of Rs 1.5 lakh crore.

Mr Deshmukh further indicated that the 12 Governor-nominated MLCs would be appointed soon as the government also needed them for majority in the Upper House.

He also hinted that the government would soon take a decision on the alternative to octroi.

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