New Delhi: Maharashtra’s long-awaited cabinet expansion finally took place on Tuesday with 18 taking oath as ministers at Raj Bhavan in Mumbai.

Attempting a balancing act, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde inducted nine ministers from his group and an equal number of MLAs from BJP, over 40 days after the duo took over on June 30.

Maharashtra has been functioning without a cabinet expansion ever since Chief Minister Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis took oath on June 30.

From the BJP Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, State BJP Chief Chandrakant Patil, Sudhir Mungantiwar, Vijaykumar Gavit, Girish Mahajan, Suresh Khade, Ravindra Chavan, Atul Save and Mumbai BJP Chief Mangal Prabhat Lodha took the oath.

From the Shinde camp, Gulabrao Patil, Dada Bhuse, Sanjay Rathod, Abdul Sattar, Sandipan Bhumre, Uday Samant, Tanaji Sawant, Deepak Kesarkar and Shambhuraj Desai took oath.

Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari administered the oath of office and secrecy to the new ministers at a function in Raj Bhavan in the presence of Shinde, Fadnavis, Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar, other legislators from various political parties and officials.

Prior to the oath-taking ceremony Chief Minister Shinde had a meeting with the rebel Sena rebel MLAs where he tried to assuage the concerns of those who were not getting a ministerial berth, Economic Times reported.

Shinde has apparently told the MLAs that the cabinet would be expanded again after the Maharashtra assembly monsoon session that is to begin this month.

Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut claimed that the Sena MLAs who have not got cabinet berths are in touch with them. “12 of the Sena MLAs are in touch with us,” ET quoted Raut as saying.

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