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Chavan mum on portfolios

Chief Minister-designate Ashok Chavan remained tightlipped on whether the power sharing arrangement with the NCP will change in view of the larger number of seats his party had won in the recent assembly elections.

india Updated: Oct 26, 2009 00:03 IST
Saroj Nagi

Chief Minister-designate Ashok Chavan remained tightlipped on whether the power sharing arrangement with the NCP will change in view of the larger number of seats his party had won in the recent assembly elections.

The NCP holds crucial portfolios like Home and Power that is high on his agenda.

He however admitted that the changed situation will be kept in mind when the two parties confer on the next steps in government formation.

“But we will see that there are no tensions,’’ he stressed in his first interaction with the media in Delhi after Congress chief Sonia Gandhi presented him a birthday gift — he was born on October 28 —by naming Maharashtra chief minister.

Chavan will be sworn in and a new government will be put in place in consultation with the NCP after its legislature party meeting on Monday.

But there is no question of taking Raj Thackeray’s support, he said.

Hectic Sunday

The issue of distribution and sharing of portfolios did not come up when Chavan called on NCP chief Sharad Pawar. Instead, the discussion centred on the support price for cotton.

For Chavan, it was a busy Sunday as he called on a host of leaders, including President Pratibha Patil, Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel, senior leaders A.K. Antony and Shivraj Patil.

Shekhawat in team?

Chavan hopes to strike a regional and social balance by giving representation to women and to youth in his team in acknowledgement of several young faces who have won. He named Patil’s son Rajendra Shekhawat, who was seated with him on the podium, as one such winner. There is speculation that Shekhawat will be made a minister.

Priorities

“This will be a test match. Not a one-dayer,” quipped Chavan about his second stint. And high on his agenda are implementing the Congress-NCP manifesto, including addressing the power shortage in the state, housing problem in Mumbai and infrastructure development.

“In three years, Maharashtra will be self sufficient in power.’’ To ensure this, would he be taking this portfolio from the NCP? Chavan refused to enter into any controversy. “It is the government which will be doing it…It is a joint manifesto.”