No cabinet expansion before trust vote: Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis

'No cabinet expansion before trust vote'
Mumbai, Nov 5: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Wednesday said his cabinet would be expanded only after the ensuing vote of confidence in the assembly scheduled Nov 12.

"First the trust vote, then expansion," Fadnavis told media persons after a cabinet meeting.

This effectively throws cold water on the Shiv Sena's ambitions as it has been demanding its pound of flesh before the minority government goes for a floor test next week.

Among other things, the Sena has sought the coveted post of deputy chief minister and 10 ministries or 12 portfolios without the Deputy CM post.

Both the BJP and the Sena leaders claim that high-level talks are underway on the issue of power-sharing between the two erstwhile partners, having 121 (BJP) and 63 (Sena) legislators respectively.

The Shiv Sena also indicated that unless the BJP clarifies its stand on power-sharing by Sunday, the party would consider sitting in the opposition and vote against the government.

A special three-day session of the Maharashtra legislature begins here Monday for the swearing-in of all the 287 newly-elected legislators followed by the crucial vote of confidence.

According to Sena sources, if it (Sena) does not get its due before the special session begins, it may sit in the opposition with the possibility of the government failing to pass the confidence vote.

On the other hand, BJP sources say it (BJP) would consider sharing power with the Sena only if it votes in favour of the government and helps it pass the floor test since it (BJP) has insisted on "no pre-conditions" for joining the government.

The election last month threw up a hung assembly, with the BJP emerging the single largest party. The Shiv Sena secured 63 seats, followed by the Congress with 42, the Nationalist Congress Party with 41 legislators and the remaining 19 seats going to by Independents and smaller parties.

In order to clear the floor test, the BJP needs the support of 145 MLAs.

The NCP has already declared it would abstain from voting, thus providing a relief for the BJP to win the confidence vote and save its first government in the state.


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