The proposed expansion of the Devendra Fadnavis ministry in Maharashtra slated for the first week of December will see 10 ministers of state being inducted into the BJP-led government.
"BJP President Amit Shah has given clearance for the Cabinet expansion and formal approval of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to be taken. "Out of the 12 vacancies, 10 will be filled and all will be ministers of state," a BJP leader said requesting anonymity.
Four ministers from BJP along with an identical number from the NDA's smaller members - Rashtriya Samaj Paksha, Shiv Sangram, RPI(A) and Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna - and two Shiv Sena leaders will be included in the council of ministers.
"Two berths for BJP will be kept pending," the leader said.
The smaller allies have demanded Cabinet berths and Sena, too, was keen for an additional Cabinet berth. At present, there are 30 ministers, including the chief minister -- 18 Cabinet and 12 ministers of state. There can be 42 ministers in Maharashtra. The much-awaited expansion of the council of ministers may take place before the beginning of the state legislature's session in Nagpur on December 7.
The Fadnavis government was sworn in 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 increased from 10, including the chief minister, to 30. There are 20 ministers from BJP and 10 from Sena in the present council of ministers.
Currently, Maharashtra Assembly has only one vacancy -- for the Palghar (ST) reserved seat -- while a few vacancies are likely to be created in the Legislative Council next year.