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Crucial Cabinet expansion in the offing in Maharashtra

By Anuj Cariappa

Mumbai, June 15: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis met Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on late Friday night to discuss the proposed cabinet expansion in the state.

In the last few days, both Fadnavis and finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar have said the ministry will be expanded.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis

In a tweet, Fadnavis said, "I met shiv sena president uddhav thackeray at his residence Matoshri and discussed in detail cabinet expansion."

Earlier in the day, when asked about a cabinet expansion, Thackeray had said, "I don't know when the cabinet expansion is happening. I don't have a 'panchang' (almanac)."

There is speculation in political circles that the expansion could take place on Sunday, a day before the three week monsoon session of the state legislature begins.

Fadnavis earlier met Governor C Vidyasagar Rao at Raj Bhavan.

Amit Shah holds meeting with leaders of Haryana, Maharashtra and Jharkhand

Currently, there are 37 ministers including the chief minister, and Fadnavis can accommodate another five.

A vacancy was created due to the death of BJP leader Pandurang Fundkar, then agriculture minister, in 2018. The portfolio is now being handled by revenue minister Chandrakant Patil.

Deepak Sawant, then health minister, resigned earlier this year and the department is being looked after by Eknath Shinde, who is also the PWD minister.

Parliamentary Affairs and Food and Civil Supplies Minister Girish Bapat resigned after being elected to the Lok Sabha from Pune. His portfolios are being shared by Education Minister Vinod Tawde and Tourism Minister Jaykumar Rawal.

While the BJP has 16 cabinet ministers and seven ministers of state (MoS), its main all Shiv Sena has five cabinet ministers and only one MoS.

Smaller allies have one cabinet and MoS post each.

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