10 new faces in Ashok Chavan’s new ministry

By Quaid Najmi, IANS
Saturday, November 7, 2009

MUMBAI - There are as many as 10 new faces, including two women, in the 37-member ministry of Chief Minister Ashok Chavan in Maharshtra that was sworn-in here Saturday.

At the same time, several heavyweights from the previous ministry were denied berths this time. Many powerful hopefuls also failed to make it in the first instalment of the cabinet.

The first time ministers are Ramesh Bagwe, Padmakar Walvi, Abdul Sattar, Varsha Gaikwad (all Congress), Sachin Ahir, Bhaskar Jadhav, Prakash Solunke, Gulabrao Deokar and Fauzia Khan (all Nationalist Congress Party- NCP).

There are a total of four Muslims in the ministry - Congress’ Naseem Khan (cabinet rank) and Abdul Sattar (minister of state rank) and NCP’s Hassan Mushrif (cabinet rank) and Fauzia Khan (minister of state rank).

A total of 22 ministers in the previous Democratic Front government, from both Congress and NCP were dropped this time, including 13 of cabinet rank and nine junior ministers.

Six cabinet and six ministers of state from the previous regime were defeated in the assembly elections.

The cabinet rank ministers who lost are Vijaysinh Mohite Patil and Ramesh Bang (both NCP), Surupsingh Naik, Anees Ahmed, Ravisheth Patil and Madan Patil (all Congress).

The junior ministers, who bit the dust, include Sunil Deshmukh, who contested the elections as an independent against Congress nominee Rajendra Shekhawat, son of President Pratibha Patil.

Besides Deshmukh, the others were Satish Patil, Shobha Bachchav, Siddhram Mhetre (all Congress), Suresh Warpudkar and Rana Jagjitsingh Patil (both NCP).

A former minister of state Dilip Deshmukh, the younger brother of Union Heavy Industries minister and former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, also did not make it to the ministry as the party has decided not to re-nominate him to the state’s upper house.

NCP heavyweight Dilip Valse-Patil was dropped from the cabinet, but he is expected to become the Speaker.

A close confidante of central minister Gurudas Kamat, Chandrakant Handore (Congress) was also not included.

Similarly, NCP ministers in two previous regimes (1999-2009) - Vimal Mundada, Rajendra Shingane, Nawab Malik, Jayprakash Dandegaonkar were also denied berths.

Among those included are first-time minister Ranjit Kamble, nephew of Himachal Pradesh Governor Prabha Rau and Mumbai Congress MP Eknath Gaekwad’s daughter Varsha Gaekwad.

The two candidates for whom Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had campaigned - Walvi (Shahada constituency in Nandurbar) and Bagwe (a three-time legislator from Pune Cantonment) were sworn-in as junior ministers.

Other probables who did not find a berth include President Pratibha Patil’s son Rajendra, Union Heavy Industries Minister Vilkasrao Deshmukh’s son Amit, and Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s daughter Praniti Shinde.

Also, Mahrashtra Youth Congress activists Yashomati Thakur, Nilesh Parvekar, Rajeev Satav and Prashant Thakur whom Rahul Gandhi had nominated also did not figure in the list.

Other important hopefuls whose names were not in Chavan’s list are state Congress president Manikrao Thakre and Mumbai Congress chief Kripa Shankar Singh - both former ministers.

With five more vacancies remaining to be filled up - all from the Congress quota - it is expected that Chavan may induct some of these big names at a later stage.

Meanwhile, Chavan is likely to allocate the portfolios of the new ministers by Sunday evening, preceded by a full first cabinet meeting.

Filed under: Politics

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