As the Congress endorsed him for another term as Maharashtra Chief Minister, Ashok Chavan on Sunday said he does not expect any problem in government formation exercise which will begin after ally NCP elects the leader of its legislature party on Monday.
In an indication that NCP may lose some portfolios it held in the previous term, Chavan made it clear that government formation would take into account the strength of the Congress and the NCP in the Maharashtra Assembly.
Chavan, for whom the party endorsement came as an advance birthday gift, also said there is "no question" of taking the support of Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), which made a stunning debut, winning 13 seats. He turns 51 on Wednesday.
The Congress-NCP combine won 144 seats, one short of a majority in the 288-member House. Of this Congress won 82 seats and NCP bagged the remaining 62 as against 68 and 71 respectively in 2004. In the outgoing government, NCP had 24 ministers while 19 were from the Congress.
Describing his second innings as a "Test match", Chavan said government formation would be a smooth exercise but refused to get into its nitty gritty maintaining it would be inappropriate to speak on the issue without talking to NCP.
"This would be a Test match and not a one-day match," he said when asked to comment on his priorities in the second innings.
The new leader of the NCP legislature party will be the Deputy Chief Minister. Water Resources Minister Ajit Pawar, nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, appears to be the front-runner for the post. However, present incumbent Chhagan Bhujbal is also keen to continue in the post, NCP sources said in Mumbai.