Ashok Chavan was sworn in as the 25th Chief Minister of Maharashtra by Governor S.C. Jamir at a ceremony held at the Raj Bhavan here on Saturday. Chhagan Bhujbal took the oath of office and secrecy as Deputy Chief Minister. The rest of the Ministry was also sworn in.
The newly formed Council has 38 Ministers — 18 from the Congress and the 20 from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). There are 27 Cabinet Ministers and 11 Ministers of State.
The former Home Minister, R.R. Patil, of the NCP, who had to resign in the aftermath of 26/11, has been reinstated in the Cabinet.
Several fresh faces have been inducted into the Ministry. Abdul Sattar Abdul Nabi, Padmakar Walvi and Ramesh Bagve from the Congress have made their first cut. From the NCP, there is Laxman Dhoble, Gulabrao Deokar, Sachin Ahir, Bhaskar Jadhav, Fauzia Khan and Prakash Solanke.
NCP MLC Fauzia Khan and Congress MLA Varsha Gaikwad, both Ministers of State, are the only two women in the Ministry.
The former Ministers of State, Naseem Khan, Suresh Shetty and Dr. Nitin Raut of the Congress and Hasan Mushriff of the NCP, were upgraded to the rank of Cabinet Minister.
Among those who missed the bus were Vijaysinh-Mohite Patil, Surupsinh Naik, Dilip Walse-Patil, Anees Ahmed, Vimal Mundada, Chandrakant Handore, Nawab Malik, Vinay Kore, Rajendra Shingane, Raviseth Patil, Madan Patil, Rameshchandra Bang, and Dilip Deshmukh.
Mumbai Congress president Kripa Shankar Singh, who won the Kalina seat and was reported to be pitching hard for a Cabinet berth, was also not inducted.
Speaking to the media after the oath-taking ceremony, Mr. Chavan said the fortnight-long discussions had borne fruit.
He thanked the people of Maharashtra for giving him the opportunity of becoming the Chief Minister in the State’s Golden Jubilee year (since its formation on May 1, 1960).
“We realise there was a delay, but our endeavour was to give Maharashtra a stable government,” Mr. Chavan said.
The new Cabinet will meet on Sunday and decide the schedule for the next Assembly session. The Ministers will be given their portfolios as well.
Speaker’s post for NCP
As for the swearing in of the MLAs, Mr. Chavan said he had proposed the first three days of the coming week. He said the Speaker’s post would be with the NCP. The NCP has held this post since 1999.