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Maharashtra government to give facelift to state cabinet

While NCP has decided to induct its state working president Jeetendra Awhad in the state assembly, the Congress has not yet taken a decision

With the state political circle abuzz with rumours of changes in the state cabinet on Tuesday, a small expansion of the state cabinet is going to take place today.

Jeetendra Awhad represents Mumbra-Kalwa from Thane in the state assembly
Jeetendra Awhad represents Mumbra-Kalwa from Thane in the state assembly

While the NCP has decided to induct its state working president Jeetendra Awhad, who represents Mumbra-Kalwa from Thane, in the state assembly, no decision was forthcoming from the Congress.

A rumour of major changes in the cabinet spread like wildfire, even as a few important developments were taking shape in the Congress. After Industries Minister Narayan Rane had a meeting with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, it was the turn of Agriculture Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil to meet her.

Sources from the party said Vikhe Patil met Gandhi at 8 pm on Tuesday. It was not known what transpired in the meeting, but the discussion, according to sources, revolved ostensibly around upcoming state assembly elections and the leadership of Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.

Chavan, along with MPCC chief Manikrao Thakre, was in Delhi on Wednesday. Apart from organisational issues, the agenda of their tour was of finalising the names for the governor’s nominees in the state council.

Meanwhile, sources from the NCP said the party had decided to induct Awhad alone. But, other names, such as those of Sharad Gavit and Suryakanta Patil were also doing the rounds. Gavit represents the Samajwadi Party in the state assembly.

While Gavit is the younger brother of Vijaykumar Gavit, who faced the axe following his daughter Heena’s decision to fight the Lok Sabha elections on a BJP ticket, Patil was to replace Minister of State Fauzia Khan, whose term in the state council ended in March.

According to the Congress sources, the names of Amit Deshmukh son of former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh Kalyan Kale and Rohidas Patil were among the probables.

But, no confirmation was forthcoming till late evening. Both the Congress and the NCP have been trying to effect some changes, and a juggle in the state cabinet is always viewed as the best option to achieve this end.

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