Mumbai, Dec 12 (IANS) In what was described as a “balancing exercise” in political circles, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray allocated the Home department to Shiv Sena, Finance to Nationalist Congress Party and Revenue to Congress, on Thursday.
The suspense over portfolios allocation, amid reports of a tug-of-war among the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies, ended exactly a fortnight after Thackeray took oath as CM along with six cabinet ministers who were sworn in on Nov 28.
The understanding on equitable distribution of portfolios among the MVA partners came after strong criticism by the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and just days ahead of the winter session of Assembly starting next week.
A major cabinet expansion is on the cards after the Assembly session in which there could be a reshuffle of the portfolios with the induction of some bigwigs as ministers, including the possibility of NCP’s Ajit Pawar, party sources said.
On expected lines, Shiv Sena’s Eknath Shinde is the new Home Minister, along with critical departments such as Urban Development, Tourism, Forests and Environment, Water Supply & Sanitation and Parliamentary Affairs.
His party (Sena) colleague Subhash Desai will handle industry & mining, agriculture, higher & technical education, sports and youth welfare, agriculture, transport and employment guarantee.
Nationalist Congress Party’s Chhagan Bhujbal has been given rural development, water resources, social justice, food & drug administration, and other responsibilities.
His party (NCP) colleague Jayant Patil will be the new Finance Minister, housing, public health, labour and minorities development.
Congress’ Vijay alias Balasaheb Thorat is the new Revenue Minister, Power & Non-conventional energy, medical education, school education, animal husbandry, dairy development and fisheries.
His colleague (Congress) Nitin Raut will handle public works department barring public undertakings, tribal welfare, women and child development, textiles, relief & rehabilitation and all backward classes.
However, Thackeray will handle all other portfolios which have not been specifically allocated to any of his cabinet colleagues, said an official spokesperson.