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Maharashtra Cabinet expansion: Ajit Pawar takes oath as the Deputy Chief Minister

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray greets his newly-sworn in deputy Ajit Pawar.   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

After much anticipation, Nationalist Congress Party’s Ajit Pawar took oath as Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra on Monday. Mr Pawar had earlier sworn-in as deputy CM on November 23 along with BJP's Devendra Fadnavis but had resigned in less than 80 hours.

As many as 25 Cabinet Ministers and 10 Ministers of State took oath as part of the first Cabinet expansion of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra.

 

Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari administered the oath of office to Mr. Pawar and other Ministers at Vidhan Bhavan in Mumbai.

Before Assembly Elections in October, Mr. Pawar had resigned from his post as MLA from Baramati following an Enforcement Directorate inquiry into Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank scam case. He had declared his intention to quit politics altogether but eventually did not. The constituency that he has been representing since 1991, once again elected him with a massive margin of 1.65 lakh votes.

Soon after, with a split in Shiv Sena and BJP and while the Sena was in talks with NCP and Congress to form an alliance, Mr. Pawar took oath as Deputy Chief Minister in an early-morning ceremony at Raj Bhavan while BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis became the Chief Minister on November 23. However, he did not take charge of office and resigned within 80 hours. He maintained that he had never left the party.

Later, Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray took oath as the Chief Minister. There was speculation over whether Mr. Pawar would be made deputy CM after the dramatic turn of events.

Mr. Pawar is likely to get an important portfolio. He was the deputy CM between 2009 and 2014 in the Congress-NCP alliance government and has held important portfolios such as irrigation.

When Congress-NCP first came to power in 1999, he became cabinet minister while Congress’s Vilasrao Deshmukh was the Chief Minister. Mr. Pawar later held charge of rural development department. He was guardian minister of Pune from 2004 to 2014.

Earlier this month, Anti Corruption Bureau filed an affidavit before Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court stating that it had not found any criminal liability against Mr. Pawar in the multi-crore irrigation scam.

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2020 3:50:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/maharashtra-cabinet-expansion-ajit-pawar-takes-oath-as-the-deputy-chief-minister/article30431805.ece

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