The much-awaited expansion of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's cabinet is scheduled to take place on Monday (December 30) and it is expected that a total of 36 ministers - including those of Cabinet Minister and Minister of State ranks - will take oath as ministers on Monday. Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari will administer the oath to the new ministers at 1 PM in the Maharashtra Legislature precinct.
Maharashtra Minister and Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat confirmed that oath ceremony will take place on Monday and 12 ministers from his party will take oath. He added that out of 12, 10 will take oath as cabinet ministers. ''List has been finalised for the oath ceremony to be held on Monday. The list will be out today. There will be 12 ministers from Congress, out of which 10 are of cabinet rank,'' said Thorat.
The leaders of Shiv Sena, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party have been holding discussions over the Maharashtra cabinet expansion for the past two weeks and it seems that the after a series of meetings the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) leaders have finally reached a common point.
Sources said that the NCP is likely to get 16 ministerial berths, while the Congress and Shiv Sena are going to get 15 (including CM) and 12 berths respectively. Speculations are rife that senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar would take oath as Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
Currently, besides Uddhav as the Chief Minister, the MVA government has just six Cabinet ministers, two each from the three parties. The total strength of the ministry of Maharashtra cabinet can be maximum 42 including the Chief Minister.
Among the senior Congress leaders, Ashok Chavan could be made a minister while former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan could be appointed as state Congress president in place of Balasaheb Thorat is now a cabinet minister.
It may be noted that the three MVA alliance partners had framed a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) and a seat-sharing formula before the government formation in the state. According to the initial seat-sharing formula, the Shiv Sena would get 15 ministers apart from the Chief Minister, NCP 14 and Congress 12.
Last month on November 23, Ajit Pawar had rebelled and allied with the Bharatiya Janata Party to become Deputy Chief Minister under then BJP Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. However, the two-man government could last just 80 hours. Former chief minister Fadnavis is now in a new role as Leader of Opposition.