Shinde, Fadnavis work out Cabinet with Shah; final call after SC order

AFTER discussions lasting more than six hours with Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis are believed to have worked out the size and members of the new state Cabinet.

The announcement however is likely to come after the Supreme Court hearing on Monday on the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction’s plea, challenging the appointment of Shinde.

Shinde and Fadnavis arrived in Delhi on Friday, in their first visit after the Sena rebellion toppled the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government and the two formed an alliance to replace it. Their talks with Shah reportedly went up to 2 am on Saturday morning.

Both the leaders are also said to have met legal experts, including Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

Addressing the media Saturday, Shinde said Fadnavis and he would sit together in Mumbai after the Supreme Court’s order and take a call on the Cabinet formation.

Of the total 42 berths in the Maharashtra ministry (excluding the CM post), the BJP is expected to retain 25 to 28, and the Shinde camp get 17 to 14. At least two ministerial posts will be conceded from the Shinde camp to smaller parties or allies.

The BJP reportedly wants to retain portfolios such as Revenue, Home, Finance, Water Resources, and is likely to concede Urban Development, Agriculture and PWD to the Shinde faction.

At the press conference, Shinde rejected Thackeray’s demand for a midterm election, saying he has the majority and his government will complete its term. He said he has faith in the judiciary.

Terming his walking away with most of the Sena’s MLAs a “revolution”, Shinde said: “The existence of our MLAs came under threat under the MVA govt. Back then, we could not speak. That is why we took this step. It’s only the natural alliance of the BJP and Shiv Sena that can take Maharashtra ahead. ”

He repeated that his group is the real Shiv Sena. Bal Thackeray, the founder of Shiv Sena, had fought for Hindutva. But Uddhav Thackeray failed to follow it. We are following it. Uddhav had derailed his (Bal Thackeray’s) agenda and we are putting it back on track. ”

Fadnavis denied he was upset with the BJP leadership’s decision to give the chief ministry to Shinde or to make him accept the Deputy CM post, in response to questions. Fadnavis had backtracked after announcing that he will not be joining the government.

“My party made me CM earlier. Now, as per the need of the party, we have abided by its decision. Eknath Shinde is our leader and CM, we will work under him, ”Fadnavis said.

On their meeting with Modi, Shinde said: “We met the PM to seek his blessings. We also wanted to understand his vision for Maharashtra. When you have the Center’s assistance, it helps take the developmental agenda forward. ”


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