Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar on Wednesday welcomed the Congress party's choice of Prithviraj Chavan as the new Chief Minister of Maharashtra, even as his party chose his nephew, Ajit Pawar, for the post of Deputy Chief Minister.
The new appointees belong to the influential Maratha community from the sugar-rich western belt.
Mr. Chavan met Mr. Sharad Pawar and sought his party's cooperation for the smooth running of the coalition government in which the Congress and the NCP are the ruling parties.
Describing the choice of Mr. Prithviraj Chavan as “a good and balanced one,” Mr. Pawar expressed the hope that he would “revive” the State. “It is a good selection and a balanced one. His reputation is good,” he said. “There will be full cooperation from the NCP to the new Chief Minister.”
Mr. Chavan dismissed suggestions that he was not on the best of terms with the NCP.
The NCP, however, ignored suggestions from the Congress that it refrain from appointing a Maratha leader to replace Deputy Chief Minister Chagan Bhujbal, who belongs to the Other Backward Class, as Mr. Chavan too is from the Maratha community, and this might tilt the regional and social balance.
“We did not advise the Congress what to do. They need not tell us what we should do. We will decide,” NCP general secretary and national spokesman D.P. Tripathi told The Hindu before he left for Mumbai to attend a meeting of the party legislators that chose Mr. Ajit Pawar for the post of Deputy Chief Minister.