Fadnavis government filled up portfolios rendered vacant after the resignation of Eknath Khadse. (PTI)
Two Shiv Sena MLAs have joined the Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra, after today's cabinet expansion, putting to rest the speculation whether the Uddhav Thackeray-led party would be part of the exercise in the wake of growing strain between the two ruling partners.
However, Shiv Sena's demand for elevation of the existing Ministers of State (MoS) to the Cabinet rank was turned down by the Chief Minister, as these two Sena MLAs will be inducted as MoS.
Five BJP legislators also took oath as ministers. Uncertainty over whether Shiv Sena would be part of the cabinet expansion loomed large throughout the day as there was speculation that Sena will not become part of the exercise, as it was not given a berth during the recent Union Cabinet expansion.
Shiv Sena MLAs Gulabrao Patil and Arjun Khotkar were inducted as Maharashtra's Council of Ministers.
Several rounds of meetings had been held at 'Matoshri' and 'Varsha', the residences of Uddhav Thackeray and Devendra Fadnavis respectively, to discuss about the party's stand over the cabinet expansion.
At the meeting of party legislators held at 'Matoshri', Uddhav Thackeray had finally decided to be part of today's cabinet expansion.
The 20-month-old Fadnavis government filled up portfolios rendered vacant after the resignation of senior minister Eknath Khadse over corruption charges last month.
The 10 portfolios handled by him were temporarily with Mr Fadnavis.