A meeting of senior Congress-NCP leaders, attended by NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan began here today, amid indications that hard negotiations are on between the ruling alliance partners over number of ministerial berths.
While Congress is firm on continuation of the old 23-20 formula (Congress 23 and NCP 20), deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has put the Big Brother in the alliance by insisting on 22-21 formula (Congress 22 and NCP 21). The meeting began at the senior Pawar's residence in south Mumbai around noon and is still on.
Earlier indications were that after Chavan, Pawar and nine others were sworn in on November 11, other ministers may take oath tomorrow. Those present include NCP Maharashtra chief Madhukar Pichad, MPCC chief Manikrao Thakre and MRCC chief Kripashankar Singh.
Ajit Pawar has aggressively sought an extra ministerial berth for his party, a demand the Chief Minister has ruled this out. Seat-sharing arrangement was decided at a meeting between the two parties and there is no need to discuss it again, he has said.