The Devendra Fadnavis-led government in Maharashtra on Sunday expanded the state Cabinet. Former leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil took oath as a minister, ANI reported. He was sworn-in in the presence of Governor CV Rao and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai.
As many as 12 other MLAs were also appointed ministers, the Maharashtra Times reported. The Monsoon Session of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly will begin from Monday.
Of the 13 new ministers, eight are Cabinet ministers – Vikhe-Patil, Ashish Shelar, Sanjay Kute, Suresh Khade, Anil Bonde, Ashok Uike, Jaydutta Shirsagar (Shiv Sena) and Tanaji Sawant (Shiv Sena). The five ministers of state are Yogesh Sagar, Atul Save, Sanjay alias Bala Bhegde, Parinay Phuke and Avinash Mahatekar.
Subsequently, six ministers – Rajkumar Badole, Prakash Mehta, Vishnu Savara, Dilip Kamble, Pravin Pote and Ambrishrao Atram resigned from their posts.
On June 4, Vikhe-Patil had resigned as Congress MLA. He submitted his resignation to Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagade. Later, he joined the BJP.
Patil had resigned as the Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly in the run up to Lok Sabha elections. He had openly campaigned for his son who contested the General Elections on a BJP ticket. “Denial of a ticket to my son was injustice,” he had told NDTV. “This shows the policy of the Congress.” Patil’s son Sujay Vikhe-Patil won the Lok Sabha elections from the Ahmednagar seat.
There are reports that 10 other Congress MLAs may join the BJP. Assembly elections are due in Maharashtra later this year. The BJP had won 122 seats in the 2014 polls, and the Shiv Sena had won 63.