Ajit Pawar back as Deputy CM, Aaditya becomes minister as Uddhav Thackeray expands cabinet

Thirty six ministers were inducted in the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra cabinet on Monday. The ministers who took oath today include Uddhav’s 29-year-old son, Aaditya Thackeray.

This is the first time in Maharashtra that a father-son duo will be included in the state’s Council of Ministers.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar, nephew of party chief Sharad Pawar, took oath as the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra. This will be his second stint in over one month after an overnight coup to form government with BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis lasted for just three days in November.

Out of the 36 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.

Sattar, a Congress MLA, joined Sena ahead of the assembly polls.

Besides Aaditya, senior NCP leader and MP Sunil Tatkare’s daughter Aditi – a first-time MLA – has also been found a place in the Council of Ministers. Other generation next politicians include Amit Deshmukh, son of former Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, Varsha Gaikwad, former minister and daughter of senior Congress leader Eknath Gaikwad and party’s working president Vishwajeet Kadam, son of late Congress leader Patangrao Kadam.

Uddhav Thackeray has also given a chance to three independents, including farmer leader and four-term independent legislator Bacchu Kadu from Vidarbha, Shankar Gaddakh from Ahmednagar, Rajendra Yadravkar from Kolhapur. All these independents had given their support to the Shiv Sena.

The Congress left out former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan but included another of its former CM Ashok Chavan in the list.

From the Shiv Sena, Thackeray has rewarded party loyalists like MLC Anil Parab besides former ministers like Sanjay Rathod, Gulabrao Patil, Dada Bhuse, Uday Samant, Shambhuraje Desai. The newcomers in the list include Sattar, Sandipan Bhumre (Marathwada). Those who were left out include former minister Ravindra Waikar, Sunil Raut, brother of Sena MP Sanjay Raut among others.

It was reported that Sanjay Raut is upset but he denied this saying they had only done their job and did not expect anything in return.

The NCP list of ministers also includes loyalists and former ministers like Dilip Walse Patil, Rajesh Tope, Hasan Mushariff, Nawab Malik, Rajendra Shingane, Anil Deshmukh. The new comers in the NCP list include Thane legislator Jitendra Awhad, Dattaray Bharne (MLA from Indapur and aide of Ajit Pawar) besides Aditi Takare.

All the three parties have tried to balance out regional and caste dynamics in picking the new ministers.

Thackeray had taken oath as chief minister on November 28 along with six other ministers, two each from three parties forming the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi.

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