Ex-Cong leader Vikhe Patil sworn in as Maharashtra minister

Published: Jun 16, 2019, 11:52 IST | mid-day online desk

The cabinet expansion took place a day before the monsoon session of the state legislature and four months ahead of the Assembly polls

Ex-Cong leader Vikhe Patil sworn in as Maharashtra minister
Pic courtesy/Twitter/ANI

Former Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil was sworn in on Sunday as a minister in the state cabinet led by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Vikhe Patil, who was leader of opposition in the state Assembly, resigned from the Congress recently. His son Sujay Vikhe Patil is the BJP MP from Ahmednagar Lok Sabha seat in the state.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra housing minister Prakash Mehta and five other state ministers quit their posts, an official in the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said. Besides Mehta, the others who resigned as ministers are Rajkumar Badole, Vishnu Sawra, Dilip Kamble, Praveen Pote and Amrish Atram. The chief minister has accepted their resignations, the official added. The cabinet expansion took place a day before the monsoon session of the state legislature and four months ahead of the Assembly polls.

CM Devendra Fadnavis will expand and reshuffle his Cabinet on Sunday morning by dropping controversial as well as underperforming ministers and induct new faces from both BJP and ally Shiv Sena, a day before the beginning of Monsoon session of state legislature.

From among BJP's cabinet team, housing minister Prakash Mehta (Mumbai), who had courted controversy over a redevelopment project, and social justice minister Rajkumar Badole, were on their way out. Tribal development minister Vishnu Savra has told the party about his inability to continue in view of health issues, but it remains to be seen if he gets a good deputy to assist and is allowed to continue till Assembly's October term-ending.

As expected, the former opposition leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil was cleared for inclusion as a Cabinet minister. He quit Congress recently to switch over to BJP. His son has won a Lok Sabha seat for BJP after breaking away from Congress. Though another strong contender and Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar was hopeful of getting a Cabinet berth, a Dalit leader from Mumbai, Bhai Girkar, was tipped to replace social justice minister Rajkumar Badole.

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