Amid speculations of a cabinet expansion, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday called on Governor Vidyasagar Rao at Raj Bhavan in Mumbai ahead of the Winter Session of the state Legislature, which begins in Nagpur from Monday.
Devendra Fadnavis. Pic/PTI
"Various issues were discussed at the meeting, which lasted for 50 minutes," a Raj Bhavan press release issued in Mumbai said.
An official from the Chief Minister's office (CMO) denied that the meeting was held to discuss the cabinet expansion. "The meeting was on other issues," the official said without divulging any details.
The cabinet expansion to fill in 10 out of the 12 vacancies was scheduled to take place in the first week of December before the commencement of the three-week Winter Session.
According to sources, issues like tribal development figured in the meeting between the CM and the Governor. Four members from BJP, two from Shiv Sena and four of smaller allies were to be accommodated as Ministers of State. However, Sena and smaller allies like Rashtriya Samaj Paksha leader Mahadev Jankar have been demanding a cabinet berth.
Fadnavis took oath as the Chief Minister on October 31, last year with seven Cabinet and two Ministers of State. When Shiv Sena later joined the government, the strength of the ministry was increased from 10, including the Chief Minister, to 30.
At present, there are 20 ministers from BJP and 10 from Sena.
Rashtriya Samaj Party MLC Mahadev Jankar, Republican Party of India's Rajya Sabha MP Ramdas Athavale, Swabhimani Partys Lok Sabha MP Raju Shetti and Shiv Sangram MLC Vinayak Mete are seeking that their parties get ministerial slots.
As per constitutional provisions, the Maharashtra Assembly, which has 288 MLAs, can have 42 ministers, which is 15 per cent of the total strength.