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Ajit Pawar likely to be next Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister

Ajit Pawar

Ajit Pawar   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

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Much-awaited expansion of the Maharashtra Cabinet is due at the end of the year

A much-awaited expansion of the Maharashtra Cabinet due at the end of the year will most likely see Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar play a prominent role in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.

Senior NCP leaders said the all-important Home Department may go to the party’s Dilip Walse Patil, while Mr. Pawar could be again appointed Deputy Chief Minister along with charge of two more ministries.

“Any expansion of the MVA government is not possible without including Mr. Ajit Pawar in it. He will definitely be a part of the extended Cabinet of the MVA,” said senior NCP leader and Cabinet Minister Jayant Patil.

Mr. Pawar was earlier sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister along with the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister on November 23. However, Mr. Pawar had, in a surprising turn of events, resigned from the government in less than 80 hours, resulting in the fall of the BJP-led government.

“We are happy to share some of these responsibilities as keeping so many portfolios has only resulted in extra work pressure on us,” said a Sena minister. Senior leaders in the government said key portfolios that had been temporarily allotted as of now will be shuffled, with Mr. Patil tipped to be the next State Home Minister. Mr. Pawar may also be accommodated in a prominent role, said a MVA leader.

The tripartite government of the MVA will go in for a full-fledged expansion of its Cabinet end of this year. The Cabinet currently has a strength of six while Maharashtra can have 43 ministers, including a Chief Minister, since the size of the council of ministers can be up to 15% of the strength of the 288-member Assembly, officials said.

Currently, Mr. Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal between them hold the portfolios of Finance and Planning, Housing, Public Health, Cooperation, Food and Civil Supplies, Labour and Minority Affairs, Rural Development, Irrigation and Social Welfare.

Congress leaders Balasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut hold Revenue, Energy, Public Works, Tribal Affairs, and Women and Child. The plum portfolios remain with the Sena, but are likely to be shared with the NCP. The Sena currently manages Home, Urban Development, Industries, Mining, Agriculture, Technical Education, Tourism, Parliamentary Affairs and Environment.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 7:18:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/ajit-pawar-likely-to-be-next-maharashtra-deputy-chief-minister/article30394308.ece

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