Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar may return as Maharashtra deputy chief minister in tomorrow's cabinet expansion of the Uddhav Thackeray-led government, according to several media reports.
NDTV reported that the decision was finalised this week after discussions between the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and NCP supremo Sharad Pawar. A Congress representative was not present but the party was kept in the loop, as per the report. Around 36 ministers will be sworn in, 10 from the Congress, with former chief minister Ashok Chavan likely to get the public works department portfolio and nothing for Prithviraj Chavan, sources told NDTV.
According to a report in NewsNation, at the time of stitching up the alliance, the Shiv Sena and NCP and the Congress agreed that the Sena would have 16 ministers, apart from Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the NCP would get 14 ministers, including the post of deputy chief minister, and the Congress would receive posts for 12 ministers.
The Maharashtra cabinet currently has six ministers — Congress' Balasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut, NCP's Jayant Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal and Shiv Sena's Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai — besides chief minister Thackeray.
Ajit Pawar on Friday said his party's leadership would decide on his inclusion in the government Speaking to reporters after inaugurating a sports event at Balewadi stadium, Ajit said cabinet expansion would take place in the state on 30 December. Queried on his chances of taking oath on 30 December, Ajit said, "I have clarified my stand on this issue. I will follow the directives of the party leadership."
On 23 November, Ajit surprised everyone by joining hands with then caretaker chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and being sworn in as his deputy after the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress could not form an alliance within the time given to them by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari. However, on 27 November, the political situation in Maharashtra turned on its head after Ajit submitted his resignation as deputy chief minister, with Fadnavis following suit an hour later.
After Ajit Pawar returned to the NCP fold, the Maha Vikas Aghadi quickly formed the government and Uddhav Thackeray was sworn in as the 19th Chief Minister of Maharashtra at Mumbai’s Shivaji Park on 29 November.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Dec 30, 2019 11:05:50 IST