Around two weeks after Ajit Pawar's rebellion against his uncle Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has finally allocated portfolios to the ministers who were sworn in.
However, what has surprised many is that Pawar (Ajit) camp has been given ministries that have a direct interface with the public.
This is expected to give help Ajit Pawar a spring in his step as we head towards the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. Remember, this time he will be fighting none other than the senior most political leader of Maharashtra, and his uncle, Sharad Pawar.
Ajit Pawar, apart from being the deputy Chief Minister will also head the Finance and Planning departments of the state, a ministry he headed when he was the deputy under the MVA Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
Both departments hold significant power and are responsible for the allocation of funds for various projects.
The current BJP-Shiv Sena-NCP government now consists of 29 Cabinet ministers, with 14 vacancies yet to be filled in the near future.
CM Shinde currently holds multiple portfolios, including General Administration, Urban Development, Information Technology, Information and Publicity, Social Justice, Transport, Environment and Climate Change, and Mining.
Devendra Fadnavis continues to hold important positions such as Home, Law and Judiciary, Protocol, Water Resources and Command Area Development, and Energy.
The induction of Ajit Pawar and his allocation of the Finance portfolio raises questions about how the rebel Shiv Sena leaders will react. In 2022, when the Shiv Sena MLAs rebelled, they claimed that the working style of the NCP leader was a major obstacle to their work.
Chhagan Bhujbal, another NCP MLA from Yeola in Nashik, has been given the Food and Civil Supplies portfolio. He previously held this ministry in the previous MVA regime during the pandemic.
Bhujbal's reappointment to this powerful ministry, which directly affects the public, particularly the rural poor, is significant.
Dhananjay Munde, an NCP MLA from Parli in Beed, has been appointed as the Minister of Agriculture, a powerful ministry that was previously held by Shiv Sena. This appointment is significant as the agriculture sector is closely tied to the interests of farmers, who form a major voting bloc in the state.
Dilip Walse-Patil, a former Speaker and representative of Ambegaon in Pune, has been entrusted with the important Cooperation ministry. This ministry holds sway over the various cooperatives that serve as influential centres in the state.
Hasan Mushrif, a prominent political figure from Kagal in Kolhapur, has been given the responsibility of two key portfolios — Medical Education and Special Assistance.
Additionally, Dharmaraobaba Atram, hailing from Gadchiroli, has been been given the Food and Drugs Administration. Both of these ministries directly impact the general public, further highlighting their importance.
Aditi Tatkare, the daughter of Raigad MP and state NCP President Sunil Tatkare, is the sole female member in the Cabinet. She has been assigned the Women and Child Development ministry, a crucial portfolio that addresses the needs and concerns of women in the state.
Anil Patil, who represents Amalner in Jalgaon, has been assigned the portfolios of Relief and Rehabilitation, Disaster Management.
Meanwhile, Sanjay Bansode from Udgir in Latur will be in charge of Sports and Youth Affairs, Ports. These departments are crucial in connecting with the youth, who form a significant vote bank.
In a reshuffle, Fadnavis has handed over his Housing portfolio to Atul Save of the BJP. Similarly, several other sitting ministers have lost their previous portfolios to new appointees.
For BJP’s Mangal Prabhat Lodha, his Women and Child Development department has been given to Aditi Tatkare while the Tourism portfolio has been handed over to his party colleague Girish Mahajan, who is the Rural Development Minister.
Abdul Sattar, a minister from the Shiv Sena, has relinquished his position in the Agriculture ministry, and now would look after the Minority Development, Wakf, and Marketing.
The allocation of ministries has caused dissatisfaction among members of the BJP and Shiv Sena. However, it appears that these arrangements were made prior to the NCP's Ajit faction joining the government.
Varun Singh, is a Mumbai-based journalist and tracks politics and other important news from the western region of the country. Varun has spent close to 18 years in journalism.
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