A total of 18 MLAs -- 9 each from the BJP and Shiv Sena faction led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde -- were sworn-in as ministers at a grand ceremony in Mumbai today. This much awaited cabinet expansion came 40 days after a rebellion by the Sena faction led by Mr Shinde brought down the Uddhav Thackeray-led government.
Chief Minister Shinde met MLAs of his camp ahead of the ceremony this morning. He is backed by 40 of the 55 Sena MLAs.
The Opposition had criticised the delay in expanding the cabinet following the swearing-in of Mr Shinde as chief minister and the BJP's Devendra Fadnavis as his deputy in June.
The run-up to the cabinet expansion saw a series of meetings between Mr Shinde and the BJP leadership. The chief minister flew down to Delhi several times to discuss the names of probables with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, among others.
The final list shows a fine balance between rewarding Sena MLAs for their rebellion against the Uddhav Thackeray leadership and ensuring there is no resentment in the BJP ranks either.
BJP MLAs who got cabinet berths include Chandrakant Patil, Sudhir Mungantiwar, Girish Mahajan,
Suresh Khade, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Ravindra Chavhan, Mangal Prabhat Lodha, Vijaykumar Gavit and Atul Save.
From the Sena camp, Dada Bhuse, Sandeepan Bhumre, Uday Samant, Tanaji Sawant, Abdul Sattar, Deepak Kesarkar, Gulabrao Patil, Sanjay Rathod and Shambhuraje Desai will take the oath.
Chandrakant Patil is the state unit chief of the BJP and a legislator from Kothrud. He has earlier served as revenue minister in the Devendra Fadnavis government. Sudhir Mungantiwar is among the party's prominent leaders in the state and has served as finance minister in the previous BJP-led government.
Mr Vikhe Patil, who shifted from the Congress to the BJP in 2019, has also been accommodated.
Among cabinet entrants from the Eknath Shinde camp is Dada Bhuse, an aide of Eknath Shinde who has earlier served as Agriculture Minister in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government of Sena, NCP and the Congress. Uday Samant is MLA from Ratnagiri and a former NCP leader.
Mr Fadnavis, who had to settle for the Deputy Chief Minister post after a direction from the BJP high command, may get the Home portfolio in the cabinet.