Nationalist Congress Party leader R.R. Patil, who was forced to quit his post as Deputy Chief Minister following the 26/11 attacks less than a year ago, is back as Home Minister.
Patil who returned to the Cabinet on Saturday, was handpicked by NCP president Sharad Pawar. Though expected, the appointment comes just 16 days before the first anniversary of the attacks. Patil had quit under pressure following public anger over the state’s failure to prevent the attacks.
The NCP leadership seems to have rewarded Patil for his ‘sacrifice’ to save the party from public criticism.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan will head the urban development department, while his deputy Chhagan Bhujbal will continue with public works.
NCP minister Sunil Tatkare will be the new finance minister while Congress heavyweight Narayan Rane has bagged the crucial revenue department.
The NCP chief’s nephew Ajit Pawar continues to wield clout, holding the energy and water resources departments. Tatkare
is his close aide.
Congress leader and chief ministerial aspirant Patangrao Kadam had to make do with the forest department, while Andheri legislator Suresh Shetty has got health.
Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil will head transport, while the charge of school education is with Balasaheb Thorat.
Among the NCP ministers, Jayant Patil will head rural development, Jaiduta Kshirsagar will head the Maharashtra State
Road Development Corporation and higher and technical education will be headed by Rajesh Tope.