Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde is likely to conduct the state cabinet expansion after the Supreme Court hears pleas seeking disqualification of 16 Shiv Sena rebels, and the Uddhav Thackeray-led faction's plea challenging the Speaker's decision to recognise the new party whip of the Shinde group. The top court will hear all the pleas on July 11.
"The cabinet expansion is likely to be done after hearing of the pleas in the Supreme Court," a source said on Wednesday. On June 30, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had administered the oath of office only to Chief Minister Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis. Fadnavis told reporters in Nagpur on Tuesday that the cabinet expansion will be done soon and he would hold talks with the CM to discuss the distribution of ministerial portfolios.
Last month, Shinde had launched a rebellion against the Sena and majority of the party MLAs sided with him, which led to the collapse of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government led by Uddhav Thackeray. After winning the trust vote on Monday, Chief Minister Shinde had said he will need some time before he and Fadnavis discuss the allocation of cabinet portfolios. “Let us breathe properly. It was quite hectic for us (referring to political activities recently in the state). I and Devendra Fadnavis will sit and discuss cabinet portfolios and their allocation. We will also get the allocation vetted from national leaders of the BJP,” Shinde had said.
Last week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear on July 11 the plea of Shiv Sena's Sunil Prabhu seeking suspension from Assembly of CM Shinde and 15 rebel MLAs against whom disqualification pleas are pending. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal had urged a vacation bench comprising Justices Surya Kant and J B Pardiwala that the plea needed urgent hearing due to the pendency of disqualification proceedings against 16 lawmakers, including the chief minister.
On Monday, the SC had agreed to hear on July 11 a fresh plea of the Uddhav Thackeray faction, challenging the decision of the newly-elected Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly to recognise the new party whip of Shiv Sena rebels led by CM Shinde. A vacation bench headed by Justice Indira Banerjee said the fresh plea would be heard by the same bench after the summer break on July 11 along with other pending pleas.
(With PTI Inputs)