Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde is set to expand his two-member cabinet on Tuesday, 40 days after assuming office, but the gap is less than Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s record of running the state for 68 days with just one minister when he retained power in 2018.
B S Yediyurappa, the then Karnataka chief minister, ran the government alone for three weeks when he returned to power on July 26, 2019, after the fall of the JD(S)-Congress government headed by H D Kumaraswamy.
The previous Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray functioned with a seven-member cabinet for 40 days, a point Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis made while countering the Opposition criticism over the delay in the cabinet expansion.
Shinde and Fadnavis were sworn in as chief minister and deputy chief minister on June 30 after Thackeray resigned in the face of a rebellion in the Shiv Sena ranks. The Shinde-Fadnavis government proved its majority in the Maharashtra assembly on July 4.
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The two-member cabinet has had several meetings and taken key decisions, including the revival of stalled projects in the state.
In Telangana, for more than two months, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao ran his government with just one cabinet colleague Mohammed Mahmood as Home Minister.
Rao, popularly known as KCR, did not go for cabinet expansion for over two months after he was sworn in as the chief minister on December 13, 2018, following his party Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s landslide victory in the Assembly polls.
On February 19, 2019, KCR expanded his cabinet by inducting 10 more members as ministers.
In Karnataka, Yediyurappa proved his majority in the state assembly on July 29 but could expand his cabinet only on August 20, 2019, as deliberations to manage the caste and regional equations took time.
The major challenge was the caste equation as there are 39 Lingayat MLAs, to which the chief minister also belongs. Lingayats are the biggest support base for the BJP.
Most of the 17 disqualified Congress and JDS MLAs, who helped topple the Congress-JD(S) coalition government, had to be also accommodated in the government.
Yediyurappa had assumed office succeeding Kumaraswamy on July 26, three days after the Congress-JDS coalition government crumbled under the weight of a rebellion by a chunk of its lawmakers when it lost the motion of confidence in the state assembly.