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Prithviraj Chavan, Ajit Pawar sworn in

Special Correspondent
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New Chief Minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan is flanked by Governor K. Sankaranarayanan (right) and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar at the swearing-in ceremony at the Raj Bhavan in Mumbai on Thursday. — Photo: Vivek Bendre
New Chief Minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan is flanked by Governor K. Sankaranarayanan (right) and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar at the swearing-in ceremony at the Raj Bhavan in Mumbai on Thursday. — Photo: Vivek Bendre

With the promise of delivering a clean government, Maharashtra's new Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor K. Sankaranarayanan on Thursday.

New Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar also took the oath along with nine others from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). From the Congress, only Mr. Prithviraj Chavan was sworn in as the decision on the Council of Ministers is yet to be made. Party sources said it was originally decided that only the Chief Minister would be sworn in as he needed time to finalise his Cabinet in consultation with the high command in New Delhi. This could take a few days, and discussions were underway to finalise the names. The Congress plans to undertake a revamp of its Ministers and include some young blood, the sources said.

After the Adarsh society scam, the Congress high command decided to accept former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan's resignation, necessitating a change in government.

The NCP members sworn in are: Chhagan Bhujbal, R.R. Patil, Jayant Patil, Ganesh Naik, Laxmanrao Dhoble, Sunil Tatkare, Jaidutta Kshirsagar, Manohar Naik and Vijaykumar Gavit, all of whom were Cabinet-rank Ministers in the earlier government. The NCP decided not to include its State president Madhukar Pichad in the Cabinet, sources said. The NCP has 14 Cabinet Ministers.

Among those present for the swearing-in ceremony were the former Chief Minister, Ashok Chavan; Union Ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushil Kumar Shinde and Murli Deora; Leader of the Opposition Eknath Khadse; the former Chief Minister, Narayan Rane; All-India Congress Committee spokesperson Mohan Prakash; and Mumbai Regional Congress Committee Kripa Shankar Singh.

In the earlier Cabinet of 38 Ministers, 18 belonged to the Congress and 20 to the NCP.

The NCP is expected to finalise its list by Sunday, while the Congress could take longer with Mr. Prithviraj Chavan planning to go to New Delhi to discuss the matter with the party high command.

Earlier, he called on Mr. Ashok Chavan.

The bureaucracy will also undergo some changes, especially in the Chief Minister's Office, sources said. The discussion on the Congress Ministry will also wait till AICC general-secretary in-charge of Maharashtra A.K. Antony, who is away in Kerala, returns, sources added.


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