The long-pending expansion of the Maharashtra cabinet is set to take place on 8 July - just days after a massive reshuffle in the Council of Ministers at the Centre.
The 20-month-old Maharashtra government under the leadership of CM Devendra Fadnavis has been functioning with a strength of 20 ministers and 10 junior ministers. Fourteen berths are still unoccupied.
Talks of expanding the Maharashtra Cabinet before the onset of the monsoon session on 18 July have been doing the rounds for a while now.
Of the 30 ministers in Fadnavis' cabinet, 20 are from the BJP and 10 from the ruling party's ally Shiv Sena. According to Article 72 of the Constitution, the number of ministers in the Union or state cabinet cannot exceed 15% of the total number of members in the Lok Sabha or state legislative assembly.
After senior Minister Eknath Khadse's expulsion from the Cabinet over corruption charges, Fadnavis has been under duress to induct ministers from the BJP and to ensure that members from ally parties - like the Shiv Sena, the Republican Party of India's Ramdas Athawale faction, the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana and the Rashtriya Samaj Paksha - are also accommodated in the revamped cabinet.
The Shiv Sena, which is reportedly miffed with the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not induct any Sena member into the Cabinet, has also questioned the PM's selection criteria for the same.
In the wake of this, it is expected that the party will be given preference for berth allotment during the state cabinet expansion in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena's stronghold.