Maharashtra government formation | NCP to get Deputy Chief Minister post, Speaker will be from Congress
Ajit Pawar returns after failed revolt, says the Pawar family is united.
Two days after the failed rebellion to join hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in a bid to form the government, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar returned, addressing party MLAs at a meeting here on Wednesday.
“I am with Sharad Pawar. I was always with him and the party. I have no complaint against anyone. Neither have I any ill will against anyone. There are no problems within the Pawar family,” said Mr. Ajit Pawar.
On Tuesday night, Mr. Ajit Pawar had visited the house of his uncle and NCP president Sharad Pawar where both reportedly decided to let bygones be bygones.
Mr. Ajit Pawar’s return to the State Cabinet was not confirmed till late in the night after a meeting of top leaders of the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress was held for over four-and-a-half hours. The leaders clarified that the names of the Ministers will be announced only on Thursday morning.
Maharashtra Chief Minister-designate Uddhav Thackeray, the senior and junior Pawars, along with top NCP leaders and senior leaders of the Congress from Delhi and Maharashtra, participated in the meeting to discuss the distribution of portfolios.
NCP leader Praful Patel addressing a press conference after the meeting said one Deputy Chief Minister of the NCP will take oath along with Mr. Thackeray. “The post of Speaker will go to the Congress while the NCP will get the Deputy Speaker’s post,” he said.
Mr. Patel clarified that the Cabinet expansion will take place after the government clears the trust vote in the Assembly.
According to Mr. Patel, only two ministers of each party will take oath along with the CM and deputy CM. However, he did not announce the name of the deputy CM who will be taking oath along with Mr. Thackeray.
Among the top contenders for the deputy CM post include NCP State president Jayant Patil. A group within the NCP is backing Mr. Ajit Pawar’s name for the same.
Maharashtra politics: Aaditya Thackeray and Rohit Pawar the centre of attraction as MLAs take oath
According to sources, the bone of contention within the parties was the post of Speaker as the NCP was not ready to give the post to the Congress, especially former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. The issue has now been sorted out.
Late Wednesday night, Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray visited Congress president Sonia Gandhi thanking her for the support and also inviting her to the swearing-in ceremony, to be held on Thursday evening.
Preparations for the swearing-in ceremony are in full swing. Sena MP Vinayak Raut said the party has invited 400 farmer families for the programme. In addition invitations have been sent to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Delhi CM Arvind Kejariwal. Mr. Thackeray’s estranged cousin and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS chief Raj Thackeray is also likely to get an invite.