After today's expansion, the state has now 43 ministers including the Chief Minister. Maharashtra can have a maximum of 43 ministers.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray expanded his Council of Ministers today, inducting 36 new faces as ministers and Ministers of State. The list includes NCP leader Ajit Pawar who returned as the Deputy Chief Minister days after his overnight shift that saw him take oath as the Deputy CM only to resign and return to the UPA fold in a span of 80 hours. Pawar and the other newly inducted ministers were administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari in the Vidhan Bhavan premises.
After today’s expansion, the state has now 43 ministers including the Chief Minister. Maharashtra can have a maximum of 43 ministers. According to the Constitution, the strength of the Council of Ministers in a state cannot exceed 15% of the Legislative Assembly’s strength. The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly has 228 seats.
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Even as the expansion took place a month after the Maha Vikas Aghadi took charge, the alliance is facing charges of preferring dynasts in the Council of Ministers. Uddhav himself is the son of Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray. Balasaheb throughout his life was a staunch advocate of Hindutva. But his son Uddhav formed an alliance with the political opponents — Congress and NCP, to quench its hunger for power.
Let’s take a look who all with strong political background have found a place in the Council of Ministers:
Ajit Pawar (NCP): Ajit Pawar is the nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar who served as the CM of Maharashtra thrice — July 1978 to February 1980; June 1988 to June 1991; and March 1993 to March 1995. Sharad Pawar was Minister of Agriculture in the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre between May 2004 and May 2014.
Ashok Chavan (Congress): He had served as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra between December 2008 and November 2010. He is the son of Shankarrao Bhavrao Chavan who served twice as Chief Minister of Maharashtra from 1975 until 1977 and from 13 March 1986 until 24 June 1988. Shankarrao was also the country’s Finance minister from 1987 to 1990. Prior to this, he served as Home minister between December 1984 to March 1986. In the Narasimha Rao government, Shankarrao was the Home minister.
Dhananjay Munde (NCP): Dhananjay is the nephew of BJP leader Gopinath Munde. Dhananjay defeated his cousin Pankaja Munde in just held Assembly elections. He was the Leader of the opposition in the Legislative Council in the previous term (2014-19). Dhananjay has also worked as the BJP’s Youth Wing Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha’s president in Maharashtra before joining the NCP in 2012.
Aaditya Thackeray (Shiv Sena): He took oath as a Cabinet Minister. Aaditya is the son of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Aaditya is the first member from the Thackeray family who contested elections. In the Assembly polls held in October, he won from Shiv Sena stronghold Worli.
Satej Patil (Congress): Satej took oath as the Minister of State. He is the son of DY Patil who served as the Governor of Tripura, Bihar and West Bengal.
Vishwajeet Kadam (Congress): Kadam took oath as the Minister of State. He is the son of Patangrao Kadam who held the forest ministry in the Maharashtra government.
Amit Deshmukh (Congress): He is the son of former Maharashtra CM Vilasrao Deshmukh. Amit won elections from Latur Assembly seat.
Aditi Tatkare (NCP): She is the daughter of Sunil Tatkare who served as Water Resources Minister of Maharashtra. The ACB has sought the government’s permission to launch an open inquiry against him over allegations of land grab and disproportionate assets. Aditi took oath as Minister of State in the new Maharashtra. She represents Shrivardhan seat.
The Shiv Sena last month joined hands with the Congress and NCP after its alliance with the BJP collapsed over the issue of rotational chief minister. The Shiv Sena has 56 MLAs, the NCP-54 and the Congress-44 in the 288-member Legislative Assembly. The BJP is the single largest party with 105 seats.