Mumbai: Although Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had earlier hinted that the state Cabinet would be expanded this week, sources in the BJP now say that it is mostly likely to take place in the first week of July.
Attributing the delay in cabinet expansion to the late arrival of monsoon, among other things, BJP sources also said that despite the bitter exchange of words between the BJP and Sena leaders witnessed of late, there would be no problem in Sena getting two more ministers of state (MoS) berths.
"Late arrival of monsoon is the primary reason for postponement of the cabinet expansion. Several meetings had to be held and things had to be put in place due to delayed onset of monsoon. That forced all other issues to the backseat," a BJP leader said.
The top leadership of Shiv Sena is yet to be consulted over the issue.
"The Cabinet expansion has lingered a bit too long. It was supposed to have taken place early this month, before the national executive meet of the BJP. But, plans had to be changed due to late arrival of monsoon," he said.
The probable dates for expansion were tipped to be after the state BJP conclave in Pune held last week. Fadnavis had indicated that the cabinet would be expanded this week. But, since Sena party president Uddhav Thackeray went on a foreign tour, the expansion plan had to be postponed once again.
Thackeray is expected to be back by next week, by which time the Chief Minister would have a word with BJP president Amit Shah and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari over the names of ministers, who are to be included in the Cabinet, the BJP leader said.
The monsoon session of the state legislative assembly is scheduled to start on July 18 and the new ministers would need some time before the treasury benches faces the Opposition.
"Besides that, the government will not have its most experienced minister Eknath Khadse to save it from any crisis situation in the assembly during the session. Keeping in view all these things the Cabinet expansion is most likely to happen in the first week of July," the leader said.
There is a likelihood of smaller parties getting a berth during the cabinet expansion. The Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, the RPI (A) and the RSP had a meeting in Delhi recently with BJP top brass, where leaders of these parties urged them to give them place in the Cabinet.