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Finally, list of portfolios is out

Maharashtra got its new government after 17 days of haggling between the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party, reports HT Correspondent.

mumbai Updated: Nov 09, 2009 01:18 IST
HT Correspondent

Maharashtra got its new government after 17 days of haggling between the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party.

A day after the swearing-in, following much bickering over key portfolios between their 38 ministers, the final list was released late on Sunday night.

This was to be sent to Governor S.C. Jamir for his approval was delayed as two senior ministers continued demands for coveted departments.

The list was expected to be sent to Jamir late on Sunday.

Sources requesting anonymity said infighting within the Congress had caused the delay, and that the NCP, having

sorted out minor issues, was ready with its list but was waiting for its ally to get its house in order.

A leader close to Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said the CM would have made a declaration by Sunday evening, had it not been for a tussle between senior Congress ministers Narayan Rane and Patangrao Kadam.

Both wanted the lucrative Revenue Department – whoever heads it has complete control over district administrations and government land, and can change reservations meant for agriculture.

It also owns huge tracts of land across the state and can allot it to individuals or groups on lease or through sale.

Rane wanted the Revenue Department, which was given to Kadam as Rane had refused to join Chavan’s cabinet last year. Rane was inducted later and given Industries instead of Revenue, which he had held in Vilasrao Deshmukh’s government.

Rane reportedly later asked for the Urban Development Department, which Chavan wanted for himself – no other CM has parted with it in decades.

This department can amend development rules like floor square index, and controls town planning in major cities like Mumbai and Pune.

A senior Congress minister requesting anonymity said all other ministers had no complaints, and were ready to take what Chavan had planned for them. In the NCP, Jayant Patil was unhappy with the move to give Home to R.R. Patil, who returned to the cabinet after leaving it a year ago, to protest what he called the government’s inability to prevent the 26/11 attack.