NCP leader Ajit Pawar was sworn in as Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister on Monday — a month after he resigned from the post that he held for 80 hours in alliance with BJP amidst the high political drama. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s 29-year-old son, Aaditya, and former chief minister Ashok Chavan also took oath as ministers.
With 26 Cabinet and 10 ministers of state, the expansion took place more than a month after the Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government took charge of the state.
This is the first time in Maharashtra that a father-son duo has found a place in the state’s Council of Ministers. NCP leaders Nawab Malik, Dilip Walse Patil, Dhananjay Munde and Congress’ Vijay Wadettiwar were also inducted into the Cabinet.
The 36 ministers sworn in on Monday include 10 Cabinet and four ministers of state of the NCP, eight Cabinet and four MoS of Shiv Sena, eight Cabinet and two MoS of the Congress.
With this, NCP leads with 12 Cabinet ministers and four MoS, the Shiv Sena has 10 Cabinet ministers and four MoS while the Congress has 10 Cabinet ministers and two MoS.
Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari expressed his displeasure to CM Thackeray after NCP leader Jitendra Awhad took names of Chhatrapati Shivaji, BR Ambedkar, Mahatma Phule after the swearing-in event. The Governor also made Congress’s KC Padvi retake the oath after he added a few lines that were not part of the script.
Aaditya won from Worli with a margin of over 67,000 votes against NCP’s Suresh Mane. He was the first from the Thackeray family to contest in elections. He polled close to 90,000 votes in the Worli constituency.
Speaking to the reporters after taking oath, Aaditya said, “I would like to work for people and resolve their issues. I think all the three parties (Sena, NCP, Congress) would work together cohesively.” “I am happy that people who like truth are with us. We are with the truth. We follow ‘Satyamev Jayate’. There is no absence of trust among the three parties,” he added.
With the Shiv Sena offering the key Home portfolio to the NCP, sources said the Congress had been pushing for the allotment of one of the three portfolios — Cooperative, Rural Development or Agriculture. While the NCP has bagged the first two, the third is with the Sena at present. Sources said there is also some discontentment among the smaller allies — including the Swabhimaani Shetkari Sanghathana, Peasants and Workers Party, Samajwadi Party — for not being consulted regarding the expansion.
According to the power-sharing formula arrived at between the three parties, the Sena, with 56 MLAs, will hold the CM’s post besides 14 other ministerial berths. The NCP, with 54 MLAs, has bagged the Deputy CM’s position and 16 ministerial berths, while the Congress, with 44 MLAs, will hold the Assembly Speaker’s post and 12 ministerial positions.
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