Weeks after squabbling over allocation of portfolios, the Shiv Sena will finally join the BJP-led government today when Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis expands his cabinet.
According to highly placed sources in the party, five cabinet rank, and an equal number of state ministers are likely to be inducted from the Shiv Sena, along with 10 new ministers of the BJP.
Uddhav Thackeray and Devendra Fadnavis
"The BJP and the Shiv Sena have jointly decided that the Sena will get 5 cabinet rank and 7 Ministers of state. But for now, we are putting on hold the oath taking of two ministers of state. It will happen after the Winter session of the Assembly," a senior Sena leader, who was part of discussions with the BJP, told PTI.
According to the Shiv Sena leader, those who are likely to included in the cabinet are: Diwakar Raote, Dipak Sawant, Subhash Desai, Eknath Shinde and Ramdas Kadam. Raote is set to get the Transport ministry, while Sawant may get Health. Industries Ministry, currently headed by BJP leader Prakash Mehta will now be reshuffled and given to Subhash Desai. Eknath Shinde, who had occupied the Leader of Opposition chair will now head the MMRDC. Ramdas Kadam, a close confidante of Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray will get the environment ministry.
Among those likely to be included as state ministers are: Sena MLAs Sanjay Rathod, Ravindra Vaikar, Dada Bhuse Vijay Shivtare and Deepak Kesarkar. The two long-time allies had parted ways on December 15, just three weeks before the Maharashtra Assembly elections, which threw up a fractured verdict in the 288-member Legislature.
The BJP subsequently emerged as the single largest party with 122, while the Sena bagged 63 seats. The Congress came third with 42 seats and the NCP finished last with 41.