A day after the Prime Ministers Office announced that former chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh would be one of the cabinet members, his opponents were shocked. A week after the worst-ever terror attack on the metropolis, when Congress president Sonia Gandhi asked the then CM Vilasrao Deshmukh to step down, his party rivals said his political rehabilitation would be impossible. There was talk that he had been promised a slot at the Centre at an appropriate time, but the Latur LS seat was reserved for an SC candidate and there were many Congress contenders for vacant RS seats. Some Congress ministers had even predicted a gubernatorial assignment for Deshmukh. When the PMO announced that Deshmukh would be one of the cabinet members to be sworn in, the ex-CM’s opponents were shocked. Deshmukh has emerged as a big winner in the new round of announcements. He is the only minister who is neither a Lok Sabha nor a Rajya Sabha member. While Maharashtra had ten ministers in the outgoing cabinet, it will have only nine in the new one. Mumbai has been rewarded for helping the Congress-NCP sweep the metropolis. Rajya Sabha MP Murli Deora retains petroleum, while Mumbai North-West MP Gurudas Kamat, a new face in Delhi, will be a minister of state. The other six cabinet ministers from the state are Mukul Wasnik, Sharad Pawar, Sushilkumar Shinde, Praful Patel (MoS), Prithviraj Chavan (MoS) and Pratik Patil (MoS).

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