Even as Supreme Court verdict on validity of his decision to split his party Shiv Sena and claim to be the original party is pending, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Tuesday expanded his two-member ministry. 

The expanded cabinet includes 18 ministers, nine each from his rebel Shiv Sena group and the BJP. There is no woman member in the cabinet.  

Eighteen MLAs inducted as ministers, including State BJP president Chandrakant Patil were administered oath by governor B S Koshyari in Mumbai. Other ministers include Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Sudhir Mungantiwar, Chandrakant Patil, Vijaykumar Gavit and Girish Mahajan.

Rebel Shiv Sena MLAs Gulabrao Patil, Dada Bhuse, Sanjay Rathod, Sandipan Bhumre, Uday Samant, Tanaji Sawant, Abdul Sattar, Deepak Kesarkar and Shambhuraj Desai were sworn in as ministers.

The new ministers include Shinde group MLA Sanjay Rathod, who was the forest minister in Uddhav Thackeray cabinet and was forced to resign after BJP leaders blamed him for a woman’s suicide.

Shiv Sena leaders claim that the Shinde government will not last long and many of the rebel Shiv Sena leaders will be back in the party fold as they were not included in the Cabinet.

 ( with PTI inputs)

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