Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar was on Thursday sworn-in as the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra as Uddhav Thackeray expanded his cabinet with 35 more ministers.
Ajit Pawar has bounced back as the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra for a record fourth time. – the first being in November 2010, then October 2012, and later in November 2019 for barely 80 hours with Devendra Fadnavis as the Chief Minister.
Youth icon and Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aaditya also took oath as a minister in the Maharashtra Government.
The oath of office was administered by Governor BS Koshyari in the presence of Maha Vikas Aghadi Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and other dignitaries.
Ten of the 35 MLAs given ministerial berths today belong to the Congress.
Out of the 35 ministers, 26 ministers were sworn-in as cabinet ministers and 10 ministers took oath as junior ministers. There are three women in the expanded Council of Ministers, including two of the cabinet rank – Varsha Gaikwad and Yashomati Thakur from Congress and Aditi Tatkare from NCP.
The new Council of Ministers now has four Muslim ministers. These are Nawab Malik and Hasan Mushariff from NCP, Aslam Shaikh from Congress and Abdul Sattar from Shiv Sena.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government led by Uddhav Thackeray was formed on November 28. The state Cabinet currently has six ministers, besides the Chief Minister.
Balasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut of the Congress, Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai of the Shiv Sena and Jayant Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal of the NCP took oath along with Thackeray on November 28.
Maharashtra can have a maximum of 43 ministers. The size of the council of ministers cannot exceed 15 per cent of the total number of MLAs, which is 288 in the state.
The Shiv Sena last month joined hands with the Congress and NCP, its traditional adversaries, after its alliance with the BJP collapsed over the issue of sharing the chief ministerial post.
According to the power-sharing formula decided by the three MVA allies, the Sena will get 15 ministerial berths, excluding the CM’s post, the NCP will also get 15 and the Congress 12.
The Shiv Sena has 56 MLAs, the NCP 54 and the Congress 44 in the 288-member House.