Maharashtra, ahead of State polls, gets 6 ministers
With the Union Council of Ministers featuring as many as six faces from Maharashtra, the focus on the state which goes to the polls in October is unmistakeable. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also been careful to keep a delicate balance between the state’s various regions in his cabinet picks.
Maharashtra’s saffron wave annihilated the Congress-NCP in the Lok Sabha polls. The Shiv Sena-BJP picked up as many as 42 of the state’s 48 seats. The BJP leadership is hoping for a sequel in the assembly polls. Maharashtra has had a saffron government only once in its history, when the Shiv Sena-BJP held power between 1995 and 2000.
Mr. Modi has picked Nitin Gadkari from the Vidarbha region as a Cabinet Minister. The saffron alliance had won all the ten seats in this belt in the Lok Sabha polls. Mr. Gadkari, who was former BJP President and is closely associated with the RSS. He had served as Public Works Minister in the Shiv Sena-BJP government in Maharashtra.
In order to counter power struggle in the Maharashtra BJP, Mr. Modi has also inducted Mr. Gadkari’s rival Gopinath Munde as Cabinet Minister. This is perhaps also a signal that the BJP leadership is planning to field new faces to lead its campaign for the Maharashtra polls.
Mr. Munde is a strong mass leader from the Marathwada region where the saffron combine won six of the eight seats Lok Sabha seats. Another Marathwada leader, four-term MP from Jalna, Raosaheb Danve has also been inducted as Minister of State.
Two high profile Rajya Sabha MPs of the BJP from Maharashtra have also been given slots. Mr. Piyush Goyal, a former investment banker from the Gujarati community with strong links to India Inc will be Minister of State (Independant Charge). Mr. Goyal comes from political lineage and is the son of the BJP’s Vedprakash Goyal who served as Union Shipping Minister. His mother Chandrakanta Goyal was an MLA from Mumbai.
The party’s national spokesperson, and Rajya Sabha MP Prakash Javadekar has been appointed Minister of State (Independant Charge). He hails from Pune in Western Maharashtra, which has traditionally been the bastion of the Congress-NCP.
The Konkan region will be represented by the Shiv Sena’s Anant Geete, who has been appointed Cabinet Minister. Mr. Geete had served in earlier NDA governments as Union Minister of State for Finance and Union Power Minister. Mr. Geete is a six term MP from the Raigad constituency.