Just over a month after assuming office, the chief minister of Maharashtra Uddhav Thackeray has expanded his cabinet. And for the second time in two months, Ajit Pawar has taken oath as the deputy chief minister of the state.
Ajit Pawar had earlier tried to engineer a revolt within the NCP when he took oath as the deputy chief minister in the government led by BJP's Devendra Fadnavis. But this only lasted 80 hours as the government collapsed and Ajit Pawar returned to the NCP fold.
The other key induction is 29-year old Aditya Thackeray, the son of chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. This is the first time a father-son duo will be part of the same cabinet in Maharashtra. Portfolio allocation is not done yet and sources say Aditya Thackeray could get an environment or higher education.
With this, Maharashtra has a 43-member cabinet including the chief minister. This is the maximum limit as the council of ministers cannot exceed 15 percent of the total MLAs in the state which is 288. As things stand, NCP has 16 ministers, the Shiv Sena has 14 ministers and Congress has 12 ministers in the state. To discuss this CNBC-TV18 spoke to senior journalist and editor at Loksatta Girish Kuber.
Kuber said, "There are no expectations from this new Maharashtra government, so that is going to work in the favour of Uddhav Thackeray's ministry because when expectations are very high there is a pressure of those expectations and for those things to be delivered. So, the expectations are absolutely zero in terms of Uddhav Thackeray. Secondly look at the composition of the cabinet, out of 43 ministers as many as 19 which is almost like 50 percent are from political families - sons, daughters, son-in-laws of various political leaders, so every one of them is going to ensure the stability of the government. The third biggest aspect is being anti-BJP."
On Ajit Pawar he said, "Sharad Pawar is trying to become a good uncle as well as a good leader. So, he is caught between these two things. The kind of spoilt brat Ajit Pawar has been since his childhood, the same thing continues. He is completely aloof, he doesn't even like to talk to media but the good thing about him is that he is an extremely able administrator. Whoever has worked with him - industrialists or bureaucrats they all talk about his ability to understand and decide quickly on topic and never go back. So, Ajit Pawar might be in the news but eventually, he will stabilise and will stabilise the government also."