Mumbai: Legislators from smaller parties and Independents supporting the new government expressed dismay on Wednesday after they were ‘dropped’ from the mini-cabinet expansion carried out on Tuesday by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, 41 days after he was sworn-in along with Bharatiya Janata Party’s Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis.
At least two — Bacchu Kadu and Rajendra Patil-Yadravkar — expressed a grouse against Shinde-Fadnavis for not giving them any representation in the 20-member ministry comprising 10 Shiv Sena rebels and 10 BJP MLAs.
Earlier, the 18 Independents and smaller parties who supported Shinde were assured of adequate representation, and now they have been promised inclusion in the next round of cabinet expansion likely after the Monsoon Session of the Legislature starting on August 17.
Incidentally, both Kadu and Patil-Yadravkar of the Prahar Janshakti Party, were ministers in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government headed by ex-CM Uddhav Thackeray.
“I was promised that I would be joining the ministry. It would be wrong to say that I am not upset. Now, we are informed of another cabinet expansion where we shall be included,” said Kadu.
Patil-Yadravkar said he was puzzled why he was overlooked, but he had no complaints or expectations, saying “if it has to happen, it will happen”.
The state legislature comprises 288 members of which the sanctioned strength of ministers is 43, meaning that there are still 23 vacancies to be filled, though there has been a huge clamour from the Shinde group and the BJP for ministerial berths.
On Tuesday, Shinde faced severe flak for his ‘gents only’ cabinet, ignoring several women hopefuls while taking on board at least 3 ‘tainted’ legislators.