All Is Not Well In Fadnavis’ Government After Cabinet Expansion
On 8 July, ten new ministers were sworn into CM Devendra Fadnavis’ cabinet, taking the total strength to 39 ministers. Following the oath-taking ceremony, Fadnavis is said to have sat down in a marathon meeting until Saturday night to decide on portfolio allocations, ending just two hours before his flight to Russia.
- Chandrakant Patil: Revenue (earlier held by Eknath Khadse) and PWD departments
- Ram Shinde (promoted to Cabinet rank): Water Conservation and Protocol (earlier held by Pankaja Munde)
- Girish Mahajan: Medical Education (earlier held by Vinod Tawde) added to Water Resources and Command Area Development
- Pandurang Fundkar: Agriculture (earlier held by Khadse)
- Deepak Kesarkar (Shiv Sena): MoS, Home (Rural)
- Gulabrao Patil (Shiv Sena): MoS, Cooperatives
The Fadnavis Stamp Of Political Strategy
Pankanja Munde and Vinod Tawde are known competitors of CM Fadnavis, with Munde making her wish to achieve the Chief Ministership of the state well know. Hence, it comes as no surprise that both have been cut to size.
Meanwhile, Ram Shinde and Girish Mahajan have arguably gained in this reshuffle by staying in the good books of the CM. While Shinde got Munde’s Water Conservation and Protocol portfolio, Mahajan was allotted Medical Education, earlier handled by Tawde.
Chandrakant Patil who has made a name for himself in the Maharashtra cabinet for belonging to no political “camp”, is perhaps the biggest winner in this reshuffle. Owing to his non-threat to the CM and his clean and hard-working record, he was allotted Revenue, which was earlier handled by Eknath Khadse (who recently resigned over allegations of corruption).
Deepak Kesarkar of the Shiv Sena finally received the Minister of State, Home (Rural) portfolio- something the party has been demanding for some time now.
Pankaja Munde Miffed, Tweets Sullenly
Soon after the portfolios were announced, Cabinet Minister Pankaja Munde did two things: first, she removed Minister of Water Conservation from her Twitter info; and second, she tweeted out what can be interpreted as her disappointment with Fadnavis’ decision to take away the portfolio and hand it over to Ram Shinde, a close aid.
However, early Sunday morning, she regained her grace and wished her colleagues her very best.
Her first tweet, though, raises a very pertinent question: was she not consulted when the decision to take away a portfolio from under her was made? Her troubled relationship with Fadnavis is well known, as is her express wish to nab the top seat of Chief Minister one day.
The ‘Jalyukta Shivar’ project that seeks to make Maharashtra drought-free by 2019 was inaugurated by Fadnavis, and implemented through Munde’s former Water Conservation department. Since the very beginning, there has been a battle for credit of the project’s slow success between the two. Though Munde constantly tweets out about the progress of the project, she was recently in the news for clicking a selfie in front of a ‘Jalyukta Shivar’ site, and was labeled a drought tourist.
Munde now holds the portfolios of Rural Development, and Women and Child development; she skipped the oath-taking ceremony.
Who Holds What Now?
- Devendra Fadnavis: General Administration, Urban Development, Law and Judiciary, Ports and Information & Public Relations
- Chandrakant Patil: Revenue and PWD
- Sudhir Mungantiwar: Finance and Planning, Forest
- Vinod Tawde: School, Higher, Technical, Minorities and Waqf, Marathi Language, Culture
- Prakash Mehta: Housing
- Pankaja Munde: Rural Development, Women and Child Development
- Vishnu Sawara: Tribal
- Girish Bapat: Food and Civil Supply, Food and Drugs Admin, Parliamnetary Affairs
- Girish Mahajan: Water resources, Medical Education and Command Area
- Diwakar Raote: Transport, Saltpan Land Development
- Subhash Desai: Industries and Mining
- Pandurang Fundkar: Agriculture, Horticulture
- Ramdas Kadam: Environment
- Eknath Shinde: PWD (projects)
- Chandrashekhar Bawankule: Energy, State Excise
- Babanrao Lonikar: Water Supply and Sanitation
- Deepak Swant: Public Health
- Rajkumar Badole: Social Justice and Special Assistance
Cabinet New Entrants:
- Ram Shinde: Water Conservation and Protocol
- Jaykumar Rawal: Employment and Tourism
- Subhash Deshmukh: Textiles, Marketing and Cooperatives
- Mahadeo Jankar: Animal Husbandry, Milk and Fisheries
- Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar: Labour, Skill Development
MoS New Entrants:
- Gulabrao Patil: Cooperatives
- Madan Yerawar: Energy, Tourism, PWD, General Administration
- Sadabhau Khot: Agriculture and Marketing
- Ravindra Chavan: Medical Education, IT, Food and Civil Supply, Consumer Affairs
- Arjun Khotkar: Textiles; Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Milk