Will Maharashtra grab all its berths in Modi Cabinet?

Updated: May 30, 2019, 07:39 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

While most of the sitting BJP ministers from the state are expected to retain their berths in the Cabinet, ally Sena could not decide on its representation till Wednesday night due to a stiff competition between its MPs

Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, at BKC, on April 26. File pic
Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, at BKC, on April 26. File pic

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi's swearing in scheduled today, some ministers too are likely to take oath. While most of the sitting BJP ministers from Maharashtra are expected to retain their berths in the Modi Cabinet, ally Shiv Sena could not decide on its representation till Wednesday night due to a stiff competition between its MPs.

Sources in the BJP said Nitin Gadkari, Suresh Prabhu, Piyush Goyal and Prakash Javdekar would definitely be in the new team, while state BJP president Raosaheb Danve, who had quit as a junior minister in the erstwhile Cabinet after being made in-charge of the party unit in Maharashtra, is expected to be promoted as a Cabinet minister or as a minister of state with independent charge. It would be interesting to see which ministries these members are allotted.

"It will be interesting to see if Modi goes for a social balance or selects the MPs based on unconventional criteria," said a state BJP minister, requesting anonymity. In Maharashtra, the BJP had junior ministers Subhash Bhamre and Hansraj Ahir. The latter lost the Lok Sabha election from Chandrapur. Whether Bhamre retains the same status or gets a promotion is the question. Another probable is seen in RS member Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and RPI leader Ramdas Athawale, who is a sitting junior minister now.

And, since Maharashtra has mostly elected women representatives, who are highly qualified and represent a cross-section of the society, the name of a tribal MP, Dr Heena Gavit, has been making the rounds. The post-graduate doctor has won from Nandurbar twice in a succession turning the traditional Congress segment into a BJP-dominated one. The Congress had been here since the first election till young Gavit ended the reign. Other two-term woman MPs Preetam Munde and her cousin Poonam Mahajan are also seen as favourites if the Mahajan-Munde clan's contribution to the BJP is considered.

Tough call for Sena?

Since Sena's sitting minister Anant Geete has lost the election, the party is witnessing a fierce competition. Lok Sabha MPs Arvind Sawant, Rahul Shewale, Vinayak Raut and Bhavana Gawali, and Rajya Sabha members Sanjay Raut and Anil Desai are in the reckoning for the Cabinet berth. One more Cabinet berth and a junior minister's post or two junior ministers' posts are likely to be given to the Sena by this year end, said sources.

A senior leader, who is close to Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, told mid-day that Sawant could be the first choice for Thursday's induction. Desai's name cropped up yet again because he wasn't allowed to take oath and asked to return from the airport a couple of years ago. But some Sena leaders see Desai's chances weak this time around because of his alleged fall-out with Thackeray. Interestingly, Desai left for New Delhi on Wednesday night.

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