Over a month after coming to power in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday expanded his Cabinet by inducting 36 ministers, including his son Aaditya and some Gen-next leaders from political families, while NCP's Ajit Pawar made a comeback as deputy CM.
Describing his council of ministers as the "best team" of experienced leaders who know the "pulse of people", the CM told reporters in the night that portfolios would be allocated in a "day or two".
Earlier in the day, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari administered oath to 14 ministers from the NCP, 10 from the Congress and 12 from the Shiv Sena at Vidhan Bhavan (state legislature) premises in south Mumbai.
The 36 new ministers included 10 Cabinet and four ministers of state (MoS) of the NCP, eight Cabinet and four MoS of the Sena, and eight Cabinet and two MoS of the Congress.
However, what attracted the most attention was the shadow of dynastic politics.
Shiv Sena: Father-son combination
The Shiv Sena, which had been an ally of the BJP for decades in the state, seems to have ignored the issue for which the BJP and other parties have cornered the Congress over the years.
This is the first time in Maharashtra that the son of an incumbent chief minister became a minister in the cabinet. Uddhav Thackeray administered the oath of office to his 29-year-old son and Aaditya Thackeray, a legislator from Worli.
There is a discussion going on that the Chief Minister’ Office was formed to prepare them for future politics, so that they become well aware of politics.
Uncle and nephew in NCP
NCP chief Sharad Pawar's nephew Ajit Pawar is the first MLA in the country to become deputy chief minister for the second time in two different governments in a month.
However, he has become deputy CM for the fourth time in the state. Ajit Pawar was also sworn in as deputy CM when BJP's Devendra Fadnavis took oath as chief minister for the second time.
Gopinath Munde's nephew Dhananjay Munde also got a place in the cabinet expansion. Dhananjay had defeated Gopinath Munde's daughter and his cousin Pankaja Munde in the recent assembly elections. Uddhav Thackeray has also given Aditi Tatkare a place in the Council of Ministers.
This time, instead of Sunil Tatkare, she successfully contested from Shrivardha constituency. Getting a cabinet berth is no less than a bumper gift for the first-time MLA.
Congress knows how to run government
The Congress has once again made it clear that dynasty politics wouldn’t leave it soon. Ashok Chavan, the son of Shankarrao Chavan, a tall figure in the Maharashtra Congress politics, who lost the chief minister's chair in the Adarsh scam, has become a minister in the Uddhav government. It was the Shiv Sena which brutally targeted Ashok Chavan after the Adarsh scam came to light.
Similarly, former Congress chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh's son Amit Deshmukh, who was elected MLA from Latur, has also become a minister in the Sena-NCP-Congress government. Similarly, Varsha Gaikwad, daughter of veteran Congress leader Eknath Gaikwad, and Vishwajit Kadam, son of Patangrao Kadam, have also become members of Uddhav Thackeray's cabinet.
(With PTI inputs)