Despite his reluctance to assume charge as the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Devendra Fadnavis joined rebel Sena leader Eknath Shinde’s government in the state, as directed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief J P Nadda.
“We needed our own person who knew the state and administration in and out to be in the government. That is why Fadnavis was asked to bear the responsibility of the deputy CM of the state,” a senior functionary, who was involved in the government formation by virtue of his designation, had then reasoned.
Cut to Sunday, when portfolios of the Shinde cabinet were announced.
Deputy CM Fadnavis landed crucial portfolios such as Home, Finance and Planning, Law and Judiciary, Water Resources, Housing and Energy, whereas CM Shinde kept the GAD, Urban development, IT, Transport, social justice, environment, minorities to name a few.
The portfolio distribution, senior party leaders stated, explains why Fadnavis was asked to assume the charge of Deputy CM. According to sources, the thrust is to run a corruption-free government for the remaining tenure.
The BJP had kept the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government on its toes as its two ministers were imprisoned on charges of corruption. Later, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, too, was arrested on charges of money laundering.
Sources said the message from the high command is clear that there should be no allegation of corruption and the new alliance should give a clean image government to the state.
Apprehending this, the party put Fadnavis in the government to ensure that state runs smoothly.
Maintaining law and order and putting the financial standing of the state on track will also be the responsibility of the deputy CM.
PRUDENT PORTFOLIO DISTRIBUTION
Ten ministers from the BJP and 10 from Shinde camp have been given portfolios. Sources in the party said that while the opposition was maintaining pressure on the government for delaying the announcement of the portfolios, the government took time to deliberate on each ministry or department given to the ministers.
“There were long discussions with clear directions that there should be no blot on the government. Sensitive departments came into the kitty of the BJP. There was a delay in distribution of portfolios, but after the announcement, there is a general sentiment that the distribution is sensible and thoughtful. It looks like Fadnavis is going to be in the driver’s seat,” said a senior party leader.
Many in the state believe that the distribution has been done keeping a clear vision for the role earmarked for each leader. Sources stated that Shinde requires time to meet and be accessible to people and consolidate his strength in the party. He needs to be moving more among the masses and party cadre, whereas Fadnavis is expected to take care of administrative job.
Portfolio allocation is done by our CM Eknathrao Shinde.
I am confident that all Ministers (Team Maharashtra) will do their best to give the much needed good governance to Maharashtra. @mieknathshinde #Maharashtra pic.twitter.com/Rd0RbUkLWu
— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) August 14, 2022
“There are many central government projects that need to be completed and many electorally crucial policy decisions need to be taken. Also, many issues are to be resolved industry and investment wise,” stated a source.
Those from the BJP who got ministries are Devendra Fadnavis, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Sudhir Mungatiwar, Chandrakant Dada Patil, Vijay kumar Gavit, Girish Mahajan, Suresh Khade, Ravindra Chavan, Atul Save and Mangal Prabhat Lodha.
MLAs from the Sena who have been given portfolios are Eknath Shinde, Gulabrao Patil, Dada Bhuse, Sanjay Rathod, Sandipan Bhumre, Uday Samant, Tanaji Samant, Abdul Sattar, Deepak Kesarkar and Shambhuraj Desai.