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Haggling for seats in Maharashtra

Even before the Maharashtra cabinet gets inducted, there is trouble brewing among the allies sharing power in the government.

mumbai Updated: Nov 16, 2010 23:40 IST
HT Correspondent

Even before the Maharashtra cabinet gets inducted, there is trouble brewing among the allies sharing power in the government.

Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar on Tuesday said his party, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), would insist on the 21:22 ministerial sharing formula with the Congress.

“NCP will ask for 21 ministers,’’ said Pawar, when asked about the sharing formula between the allies. Pawar is slated to meet Chavan on Wednesday to work out an option.

Congress, however, is insisting that the 23:20 formula that was finalised after the 2009 polls continue.

The state cabinet has scope for 43 ministers. Congress sources say post-2009 polls, it was decided that Congress would induct 23 ministers while NCP would get 20 ministers.

“Civil aviation minister Praful Patel had then held talks with Congress high command and this 23:20 formula was finalised.

There is no question of revisiting that,’’ said a source. He added this demand was just political posturing by Pawar to show that he was the boss.

However, NCP leaders have been saying the accepted formula was always 21 NCP ministers to 22 Congress ministers.

“It was always 22 (congress) and 21 (NCP). We had kept one post vacant last time and we plan to fill it this time round,’’ said state party president Madhukar Pichad.

Pichad added the final decision would be taken after the issue was discussed with Chavan by the NCP top brass including chief Sharad Pawar.

In the outgoing cabinet, only 38 ministers had been inducted out of which 20 were from the NCP and 18 from the Congress. This time round, Congress plans on inducting all the 23 ministers at one go.

Chavan will be visiting Pawar at his home on Wednesday to enquire about his health. Pawar, who was hospitalised for high blood pressure on Sunday was discharged following routine medical check up on Tuesday.

“There will be political discussion and this issue will be resolved. It will not delay cabinet expansion further,’’ said a Congress party functionary on condition of anonymity.