Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is on way to Delhi to confer with the BJP leadership about the final list for the state cabinet, which needs urgent decision with the assembly session due to begin later this month. Cabinet expansion has been pending since June 30, when Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Mr Fadnavis took oath. If signed off by the BJP’s central leaders, the Cabinet expansion might happen tomorrow, sources said.
Mr Shinde, who is unwell, is skipping the trip. Sources said the Chief Minister is suffering from over-exertion and has been advised rest by his doctors. Mr Shinde has cancelled all his programmes after the doctors’ recommendation, sources said.
Mr Shinde and Mr Fadnavis had visited Delhi last on July 27, with a draft of the cabinet list. But no decision could be taken, with too many aspirants for the maximum 43 seats in the cabinet including the Chief Minister.
Shiv Sena leaders who supported Mr Shinde during his two-week rebellion and helped topple the Uddhav Thackeray government, expect to be rewarded. So does the BJP for its behind-the screen role.
Sources said the contention for key portfolios extend to the very top.
As the Chief Minister, Mr Shinde has his eyes on the plum portfolios. Mr Fadnavis — a former Chief Minister who has been persuaded to take up the role of Mr Shinde’s deputy by the BJP’s chief strategist Amit Shah and party chief JP Nadda — is not willing to back down in this area, sources have indicated.
Maharashtra has had a two-man cabinet since Mr Shinde and the BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis took oath on June 30. The BJP and the Sena faction led by Mr Shinde have been unable to come to an understanding about the power sharing in the cabinet, sources have indicated.