Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde will expand his 40-day-old ministry on August 9, he said on Monday.
Shinde was sworn in as the CM on June 30 along with Devendra Fadnavis, who took oath as Deputy CM.
“The ministry expansion is slated for tomorrow,” Shinde told reporters at Nanded in Marathwada region.
A dozen ministers will take oath at Tuesday's ceremony at Raj Bhavan in south Mumbai at 11 am, an aide of Shinde told PTI on condition of anonymity.
The next round of expansion would take place later, he added.
“The monsoon session of the state legislature has to be held at the earliest, so we decided to induct 12 legislators in the ministry expansion. Some of those taking the oath on Tuesday would be from the Legislative Council,” the aide said.
Shinde, who emerged as a surprise choice for the top post after managing to take a major chunk of Shiv Sena MLAs with him, will have a difficult task to accommodate all of them in the ministry, sources said.
From the Shinde group, names of Bharat Gogawale and Shambhuraj Desai are doing the rounds. From the BJP, state party chief Chandrakant Patil, Sudhir Mungantiwar, Girish Mahajan, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Suresh Khade and Atul Save are likely to be inducted, party sources said.
Shinde, however, said the names of those who will take oath as ministers on Tuesday are being finalised. “They will be finalised tonight or tomorrow (morning),” Shinde said.
The CM has made seven visits to New Delhi in the last one month, and with every visit there was talk that the ministry expansion was round the corner.
Ajit Pawar, Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly, said Shinde had promised a ministerial berth to every MLA who joined him.
“Now Shinde is unable to fulfil his promise, hence the delay in cabinet expansion. The chief minister should disclose reasons for the delay,” Pawar said.
Pawar also said there has been no invitation to him so far from the government for Tuesday's ministry expansion.
It is clear that not all of the 40 rebel Sena MLAs who are in the Shinde group will get the ministerial berth, he added.
“The delay in Maharashtra is small compared to Telangana, where in 2019, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao waited for 61 days to form a full-fledged council of ministers,” a political observer said.