Why the delay in Cabinet expansion, even after nearly 1 month?
The calculated gamble by the BJP in installing Eknath Shinde as CM, when they have a large number of MLAs is considered as a strategy to counter possible Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray onslaught to target the breakaway Shiv Sena group in near future up to run to the Municipal & General Election.
It’s almost 1 month after the Chief Minister (CM) & Deputy CM took the oath of office and still we have not seen a cabinet expansion. With monsoon fury floods across the State, the administration is under pressure with inadequate monitoring in absence of ministers and district guardian minister in place.
Do all want to be Ministers?
There are reports that many Eknath Shinde group MLAs from within Shiv Sena and independent MLAs who were travelling from Surat, Guwahati, and Goa are aspiring for ministerial berths. The breakaway Shiv Sena MLAs are also sceptical with uncertainty over their future due to the pending petitions in the apex court over the split in Shiv Sena, as well as the effort of Uddhav Thackeray to revive the party organization by hitting the ground in organizing one to one meetings with hardcore party workers and Aaditya Thackeray taking up State tour to re-connect with the grassroot Shiv Sena workers across the State. There is fear among the breakaway camp that Uddhav Thackeray might get sympathy factor in his favour and the real test will be the coming municipal election across the state. We all know the municipal election is on local factors and area leaders play a key role in helping the party to victory.
In private conversation, most of these MLAs are not sure about their political future and the shape of their future alliance partnership with the BJP.
The political gamble to compromise in installing minority group camp MLA as the CM has not gone well with some sections of the BJP. They are questioning the present scenario with its strategy of implications for the 2024 general election. It might boomerang on BJP aspiration to send max numbers of MP from Maharashtra. In the process could it jeopardize the party’s prospect of getting a majority in the Lok Sabha 2024 general election?
In BJP, there is already whispering and word of caution among old party workers MLAs who are not happy over the outsiders who joined the party in the past few years getting honoured preference while picking of ministers berth.
Some in the BJP rank and file are unhappy
With the names of new induction into the BJP like Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Ganesh Naik, and Pravin Darekar who joined the BJP in the last few years, making rounds for the inclusion in the cabinet from the party quota, the party hardcore group has started raising questions about whether they will get adequate representation in ministry formation.
It is pointed out that injustice is being melted out to old ideology-driven party workers, MLAs, and MPs who are sidelined when it comes to being made Ministers or entrusting positions of power. Many recent turncoats from Congress and the NCP have been getting preference in power not only in the state but also at the national level. Of the four ministers inducted from Maharashtra into the Modi Cabinet last year, three – Narayan Rane, Kapil Patil, and Bharti Pawar were outsiders and only Bhagwat Karad was an old BJP hand. There is already Ramdas Athavale who in past was with the Congress NCP group. Surprisingly a very senior party leader with an RSS background, who was a Rajya Sabha member, was assured a minister post in cabinet berth during the last reshuffle; he had even got a new set of attires ready for the swearing-in ceremony and was denied the opportunity.
One MP from Maharashtra who rose from Corporator level then MLA now MP with BJP for last 40 years was also hoping to be rewarded to work as Minister in Modi Cabinet, was sidelined and ignored. These have not gone well with the loyal party workers and voice of dissent already visible and might explode in near future.
Even now for State Cabinet expansion, the names from BJP that are making rounds as probable are ‘maximum outsiders‘. The matter has been raised with the Sr leadership and in the party forum. We expect it to be resolved, keeping in mind the interest of old party loyalists. There will be a counter-reaction after the expansion of the Cabinet, in case the loyal old seasoned legislators do not get due “honour & representation,” said a senior party leader from Mumbai.
In Mumbai in the past 4 years, 12 ex-Congress & NCP MLAs have joined BJP and they are honored with party posts. Most of them have a dubious tainted track record.
Kripashankar Singh after induction into BJP is made Mumbai VP and moved to the top BJP circle. It’s well known now that to avoid investigation and prosecution in old corruption cases, Congress, and NCP leaders join the ruling party and buy protection & immunity.
Uddhav Thackeray, Shiv Sena was politically wrong in forging an alliance with Congress NCP as MVA government, which he calls a good experiment.
Devendra Fadnavis as CM, in a 3-day-drama government with NCP’s Ajit Pawar as Dy CM was also a farce and unholy alliance.
The new government formation and equation might have grave repercussions, which might alter the political scene in Maharashtra.
It is to wait and watch who will be the rightful beneficiary of this political turmoil.
It is time BJP gets its act together in Maharashtra, as it will not be a cakewalk in the coming municipal & general elections…
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
 36 districts, 31 departments & 2-man cabinet: No expansion of Shinde govt for 3 weeks & counting – Jul 22, 2022, The Print
 Amid crisis in Shiv Sena, Aaditya hits the streets to reconnect with cadre – Jul 22, 2022, The Hindu
 BJP appoints Kripashankar Singh in-charge of North Indian cell ahead of BMC polls – May 10, 2022, Mid-Day
 “Don’t Regret It, But Shouldn’t Have Formed Govt”: Fadnavis On 3 Day Alliance With Ajit Pawar – Jun 06, 2021, HW News
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