Gadkari, Goyal among 6 ministers from Maharashtra in Union cabinet; state strength down by 2

NewsDrum Desk
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Mumbai, Jun 9 (PTI) Six MPs from Maharashtra were on Sunday inducted into the Modi 3.0 coalition government, with BJP securing four berths, and allies Shiv Sena and RPI (A) getting one each.

Notably, the NCP led by Ajit Pawar declined the BJP's offer of Minister of State (MoS) with independent charge, insisting on a cabinet berth for Praful Patel.

There were 8 ministers from Maharashtra belonging to the BJP and its allies, in the second term of the Modi government in 2019-24. This number came down to six on Sunday.

In the new cabinet, BJP MPs Nitin Gadkari and Piyush Goyal were retained as Cabinet ministers.

Raksha Khadse, BJP's lone woman MP from Maharashtra, and first-time MP Murlidhar Mohol were sworn in as Ministers of State.

Among BJP's allies, RPI (A) chief Ramdas Athawale was retained as an MoS with independent charge, and Prataprao Jadhav from Shiv Sena led by Eknath Shinde also took oath as an MoS with independent charge.

The NCP, led by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, refused the MoS offer, demanding a cabinet berth for Rajya Sabha member Praful Patel due to his experience.

Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis said coalition formulas must be respected, assuring that the NCP would be considered in future cabinet expansions.

"We had offered one berth of the minister with the independent charge to the NCP but they wanted (Rajya Sabha member) Praful Patel's name to be finalised. Due to his (Patel's) experience, the NCP believed he could not be made MoS with independent charge," said Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis.

He said in a coalition government, a formula has to be drawn, which cannot be broken for one party.

"I can confidently say whenever cabinet expansion takes place, the (Union) government will consider the NCP. We did try to include NCP right now, but they insisted on cabinet portfolio," the senior BJP leader said.

Speaking to reporters in Delhi, Ajit Pawar asserted the NCP "was ready to wait" but wanted a cabinet berth.

The eight ministers from Maharashtra who were part of the Modi-led government from 2019-24 included Nitin Gadkari, Piyush Goyal, Narayan Rane, Bhagwat Karad, Raosaheb Danve, Bharti Pawar and Kapil Patil- all from BJP, while Ramdas Athawale was from RPI (A).

In the recently held Lok Sabha elections, BJP fared poorly as it could win only 9 seats, compared to the 2019 tally of 23 constituencies out of the total 48. Shiv Sena led by Shinde bagged 7 seats and Ajit Pawar-led NCP just one.

Gadkari, Goyal, Khadse, and Mohol won from Nagpur, Mumbai North, Raver, and Pune Lok Sabha constituencies, respectively in the recent elections.

Notably, the BJP didn't re-induct Narayan Rane in the Union cabinet though he won from Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg LS constituency.

Three other Union ministers Raosaheb Danve, Bharati Pawar, and Kapil Patil- all belonging to BJP- lost the elections. PTI MR NSK