Maharashtra: BJP-Shiv Sena almost seal deal, cabinet expansion likely on Wednesday

Mumbai: After days of tussle between Shiv Sena and BJP and uncertainty about fate of Devendra Fadnavis government in the long run, the two parties have finally managed to reach to a consensus.

Maharashtra: BJP-Shiv Sena almost seal deal, cabinet expansion likely on Wednesday

BJP has offered 4 Cabinet and 8 Minister of State berths to Shiv Sena and Uddhav Thackeray’s party is likely to agree to the offer. However none of the plum portfolios like home, revenue and urban development have been offered to Shiv Sena. The party has been given a choice of 17 portfolios and have to select 4 from them for cabinet post. Among the ministries offered are health, energy, tourism, industries, water supply, environment. MSRDC etc.

The formula for ministerial post is 2:1. Thus BJP is likely to have 24 ministers to Sena’s 12. Both sides are confident that allocation of portfolio will be done by Monday night. A late night meeting will be attended by Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and other top leaders like Anil Desai. Both sides have been in talks for last few days. Amidst intense speculation CM Devendra Fadnavis had to issue a statement that only interlocuters who are authorised to speak should air their opinion.

Once talks are finalised here, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis is likely to go to New Delhi to report to the central leadership of BJP. If the deal happens by tonight, the swearing-in ceremony of the new ministers can happen by as early as Wednesday. Ministers are likely to be sworn in two phases. In first phase, only BJP and Sena leaders will be accomodated in the ministry. Leaders of the two other smaller allies, Republican Party of India and Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, will be included in the second round of cabinet expansion.

It is worth recalling that alliance between Shiv Sena and BJP was broken just before the assembly elections when both sides couldn’t agree on seat arrangement. BJP subsequently emerged as the single largest party and formed a minority government with outside support given by NCP. Shiv Sena took the post of Leader of Opposition in the Assembly. But both parties who share an ideological bond were keen on getting back together. But talks were stuck as Sena was adamant on the post of Deputy Chief Minister and several other plum ministries. If indeed the talks finally come through and Sena joins the government, it will provide stability to the Fadnavis government.