Will the practice expansion be delayed? Shinde cancels all programs, appointment for today due to health issues, Fadnavis leaves for Delhi | Picture File
Even when uncertainty looms over the expansion of the cabinet due to the mad scramble for ministerial posts and claims and counterclaims from the BJP and Shinde camp, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Thursday canceled all his official programs because he got sick.
The chief minister’s office said he had a fever from exertion and doctors had advised him to rest. On the other hand, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis abruptly canceled his schedule for today and left for Delhi. Fadnavis is likely to hold meetings with Amit Shah and JP Nadda on the expansion of the cabinet and also on the ongoing legal battle, especially after the Supreme Court asked the Election Commission not to take any action in relation to the symbol of the Shiv Sena poll.
That’s not all, some of the lawmakers from the BJP and Shinde camp reached Mantralaya in the absence of CM and DCM as they desperately sought to know what their fate was and if the expansion was scheduled for Friday in Raj Bhavan .
A group of lawmakers were busy pursuing their work proposals with respective department secretaries at a time when the survival of the Shinde-Fadnavis government hangs in the balance following legal and legislative battles.
Lawmakers were amused by the news about the cabinet expansion to be held on Friday, although the chief minister’s office and Raj Bhavan said they had no knowledge of it. Incidentally, Governor BS Koshyari, who is in Nagpur, will land in Mumbai on Friday.
Another group of legislators gathered in a ”chai pe charcha” to discuss the list of likely candidates to be inducted into the council of ministers. A senior lawmaker said about 14 lawmakers, including 7 each from the BJP and Shinde camp, would be sworn in on Friday, although he said he had no confirmed news but was going through the TV news .
The names of BJP lawmakers Chandrakant Patil, Girish Mahajan, Sudhir Mungantiwar, Pravin Darekar, Radhakrishna Vikhroli-Patil, Ravindra Chavan and Babanrao Lonikar were discussed. On the other hand, the list of legislators from the Shinde camp, who could find a place in the cabinet, included Dadaji Bhuse, Gulabrao Patil, Uday Samant, Sandeepan Bhumre, Deepak Kesarkar, Abdul Sattar, Sanjay Shirsat.
However, Kesarkar, who is the spokesman for Shinde’s camp, made a tentative statement that the expansion is expected in four days, although he did not give a date. He said, however, that CM will convey the date to the Governor and then the swearing-in will take place. Another lawmaker late Thursday night said the cabinet expansion would not take place on Friday or even Sunday as the CM would have to be in Delhi to attend Niti Aayog’s meeting. Thus, he claimed that the next “mahurat” would probably only take place after the next Supreme Court hearing scheduled for August 8.
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