Ajit Pawar, 60, was sworn in today by Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, along with 35 other ministers joining Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's government.
Just weeks ago, the Nationalist Congress Party leader (NCP) left India stunned when he showed up at the Raj Bhavan with Devendra Fadnavis to return the BJP to power -- this, at a time when Pawar's NCP colleagues were in talks with the Shiv Sena and the Congress and poised to stake a claim themselves.
The coup didn't succeed in the end -- the government fell apart before a floor test -- but Pawar seems to have landed on his feet.
Also in the expanded cabinet is Aaditya Thackeray, Uddhav's son and the first member of the Thackeray clan to have contested and entered the state assembly.
NCP leader Nawab Malik and former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan are also cabinet ministers.
A total of 36 ministers are being sworn in today -- a deputy chief minister, 25 cabinet ministers and 10 ministers of state.
The Maharashtra cabinet expansion comes 32 days after Uddhav Thackeray was sworn in as the chief minister of a coalition comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress -- known as the Maha Vikas Aghadi.
Eminent leaders who were among oath takers till now are:
1)Aditya Thackeray takes oath as minister in Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra govt.
2)Congress' Amit Deshmukh takes oath as minister in Maharashtra government.
3)NCP leader Nawab Malik takes oath as minister.
4)NCP leaders Dilip Walse Patil, Dhananjay Munde and Congress' Vijay Wadettiwar sworn in as cabinet ministers
5)Senior Congress leader and former CM, Ashok Chavan takes oath as minister.
6)NCP ministers to be sworn-in as ministers: Dilip Wales Patil, Dhananjay Munde, Anil Deshmukh, Hassan Mushrif, Rajendra Shingne, Nawab Malik, Rajesh Tope, Balasaheb Patil, Jitendra Awhad
7)Congress ministers to take oath as ministers: Ashok Chavan, Vijay Vadettiwar, Varsha Gaikwad, Sunil Kedar, Amit Deshmukh, Yashomati Thakur, Aslam Shaikh, KC Padvi
8)Shiv Sena cabinet ministers to take oath: Aaditya Thackeray, Anil Parab, Uday Samant, Sanjay Rathod, Gulabrao Patil, Dada Bhuse, Sandipan Bhumre
9)NCP's Dhananjay Munde joins Maharashtra cabinet
10)Ajit Pawar takes oath as deputy chief minister at Vidhan Bhawan