In Maharashtra Cabinet, NCP expected to get lion's share
Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) could emerge as the biggest winner in Maharashtra, as it is all poised to get key Cabinet berths like Home, Finance, Irrigation, and Housing, reports NDTV. The party is being rewarded for stitching the post-poll alliance and bringing Shiv Sena and Congress on the same page. NCP's Ajit Pawar already holds the post of the Deputy Chief Minister.
After Assembly polls, politicians spent days on government formation. In an unprecedented move, adversaries Sena, Congress, and NCP joined hands to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi. Uddhav Thackeray was crowned as the CM and on Monday, he expanded his Cabinet, inducting NCP's Ajit Pawar as his deputy. A total of 36 ministers, including Uddhav's son Aaditya, were administered oath by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.
Now, four days have passed since the Cabinet was expanded, but there is little idea on who will get what. This sparked speculations that something is amiss among the allies. But Pawar dismissed them by saying, "The decision on portfolio allocation has been made. Who will get what has been decided. I think the chief minister will declare it today evening or tomorrow (Friday)."
If the latest report by the daily is to be believed, Pawar has managed to bargain the most plum posts for his party. NCP's Anil Deshmukh could get the important Home portfolio, while Ajit Pawar is likely to get Finance. Dilip Walse Patil might get Labor and Excise and Jeetendra Ahwad could get Housing. And Dhananjay Munde could get the Ministry of Social Justice.
Separately, Sena's Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai will get Urban Development and Industries, respectively. It's unknown which portfolios Uddhav would handle. Congress, which got the smallest share, could get Revenue. This ministry will be given to state Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat. Former CM Ashok Chavan could get PWD while Varsha Gaikwad might get Medical Education. Congress reportedly wants Agriculture too, but Sena won't relent.
While portfolio allocation is taking time, the ministers have been appointed bungalows and Ajit Pawar walked with the most lavish one. He was given the keys of posh Devgiri bungalow in Malabar Hill, where he stayed between 1999 and 2014. Two other ministers wanted this bungalow but were denied. Separately, Pawar's office is on the sixth floor, considered as the power-center of the mantralaya.