INDIA.Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde expanded his cabinet with the induction of 18 ministers, comprising nine ministers each from the Shinde faction and BJP at a swearing ceremony held at Raj Bhavan in South Mumbai on Tuesday.
The new ministers were administered the oath of office and secrecy by Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari in the presence of Shinde, Fadnavis, Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar, other legislators from various political parties, and officials.
The team-BJP: Chandrakant Patil (Kolhapur), Sudhir Mungantiwar (Chandrapur), Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil (Ahmednagar), Girish Mahajan (Jalgaon), Atul Save (Aurangabad), Vijaykumar Gavit (Nandurbar), Mangal Prabhat Lodha (Mumbai), Suresh Khade(Miraj, Sangli) and Ravindra Chavan (Dombivali, near Mumbai).
The Shinde camp- : Dada Bhuse(Malegaon, Nashik), Sandipan Bhumare (Paithan, Aurangabad), Uday Samant (Ratnagiri), Tanaji Sawant (Madha, Solapur), Deepak Kesarkar (Sindhudurg), Shambhuraje Desai (Patan, Satara), Abdul Sattar (Sillod, Aurangabad), Gulabrao Patil (Jalgaon rural), and Sanjay Rathod (Digras, Yavatmal).
Abdul Sattar was given entry into the cabinet at the eleventh hour, despite allegedly being involved in the TET scam. The names of Sattar’s two daughters appeared among the list of candidates debarred by the Maharashtra State Council of Examination for their involvement in the teacher eligibility test (TET) scam in December last. However, Sattar maintained that his daughters had failed the TET in 2020.
Sattar, who joined the Shinde faction of the Shiv Sena late, blamed his political opponents for dragging his family into the cash-for-marks scandal. He had termed it a calculated move ahead of the Cabinet expansion to diminish his prospects.
Similarly, Sanjay Rathod had to resign from the MVA Government over an allegation of his alleged clandestine relationship with a young woman Pooja Chavan who eventually committed suicide in Pune last year.
Reacting to his induction, BJP leader Chitra Wagh in a tweet said that it was unfortunate that such a man with a shady character was given the ministership and her fight to seek justice for the unfortunate victim would continue.
The names of the new ministers were finalized by Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in an overnight meeting that went on till the wee hours on Tuesday. However, no woman minister finds a place in the new cabinet.
NCP MP Supriya Sule said that this was an insult to “Nari Shakti” (women’s power), whereas former Minister Yashomati Thakur (Congress) accused the Shinde Government of a reflection of the male-dominated society.
The Shinde-Fadnavis expanded the cabinet after 39 days after they took over on June 30 as the CM and DCM respectively after the collapse of the erstwhile Maha Vikas Aghadi government headed by former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.