Mumbai: With an eye on the upcoming Assembly elections in four months, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday reshuffled his cabinet by dropping six Ministers and inducting 13 others. The 13 comprise 10 from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), two from Shiv Sena and one from ally the Republican Party of India (A) (RPI-A). As expected, former Congressman and Leader of Opposition in the state Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil joined as a Minister, and another long-time contender Mumbai BJP President Ashish Shelar was also inducted. All the ministers were administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor C.V. Rao at a function in Raj Bhavan. Besides Vikhe-Patil and Shelar, the other Cabinet rank Ministers who were sworn-in are: Sanjay Kute, Suresh Khade, Anil Bonde and Ashok Uike and Tanaji Sawant (all BJP), and Jaydutt Kshirsagar (Shiv Sena). Five legislators were inducted as Ministers of State — Yogesh Sagar, Sanjay Bhegde, Parinay Fuke (all BJP), Atul Save (Shiv Sena) and Avinash Mahatakear (RPI-A). Six incumbent ministers – Prakash Mehta, Vishnu Savra, Ambarish Atram, Dilip Kamble, Pravin Pote and Rajkumar Badole – who were dropped for lacklustre performance, tendered their resignations which were accepted by Fadnavis. With this, on the eve of the Maharashtra Assembly’s monsoon session starting here on Monday, Fadnavis has consolidated the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena’s position before the upcoming elections.
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