Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has begun the exercise of taking stock of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) cabinet colleagues ahead of the impending cabinet reshuffle-cum-expansion sometime in the middle of May. Sources disclosed that Fadnavis and BJP core committee members held a day-long review meeting on the performance of BJP ministers at his official residence Varsha. The impending cabinet reshuffle is likely to see some non-performing ministers being axed and portfolios of some incumbent ministers being changed. The reason put out for the reshuffle is the non-performance of some ministers and the need for the party to gear up for the 2019 assembly elections.
Sources disclosed that during CM's recent visit to Ahmedabad where he met party president Amit Shah, Fadnavis is reported to have secured the nod for a reshuffle. A few senior cabinet rank ministers and some junior ministers of state are likely to be dropped in the cabinet reshuffle. A party insider while speaking to The Afternoon D&C on condition of anonymity disclosed that the reshuffle-cum-expansion is likely to take place sometime in the middle of May, next month. Sources further disclosed that the Shiv Sena is also reported to have given its approval for the impending reshuffle. However, party sources are tight-lipped about who will retain his cabinet berth or will face the axe.
The basis of the review of the performance of the ministers is reported to be the performance of the party in the recent round of civic elections in their respective districts and assembly constituencies and the decisions taken by them related to their own allocated portfolios. Sources pointed out that the government has already completed two and half years last month. With two and half years remaining for the 2019 assembly elections, the government needs a leg-up in the run-up to the assembly elections if it wants to retain power. Hence it has become imperative for the party and the government to effect a reshuffle now whereby it has enough time on hand to effectively implement policies and projects to derive mileage in the 2019 assembly elections, sources added.
The Cabinet Situation
Currently, the Fadnavis led cabinet comprises of 39 ministers which comprise of 23 cabinet rank ministers and 16 Ministers of State. Out of the 23 cabinet rank ministers, BJP has 17 cabinet rank ministers, Sena 5 and Rashtriya Samaj Paksha 1. Whereas, of the 16 ministers of state, BJP has 8 ministers, Sena 7 and Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna 1. Fadnavis had expanded his cabinet last time on July 8, 2016, wherein BJP inducted seven ministers, Sena were given two spots and allies were given two ministerial berths.