After a wait of nine days, Maharashtra’s council of ministers is finally in place.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan did spring some surprises while forming the new council of ministers on Friday. He inducted six new faces—mostly young legislators and clipped wings of an ambitious Narayan Rane by taking away his revenue department.
On the other hand, the Nationalist Congress Party retained RR Patil as home minister. Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar will head finance and energy departments.
The Congress and Nationalist Congress Party inducted 29 ministers on Friday. The Congress retained its senior ministers including chief ministerial aspirants Rane, Balasaheb Thorat and Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil while NCP did not make any changes.
Like his predecessors, Chavan will himself hold crucial urban development and housing departments.
The biggest political casualty of the day was Rane. He has lost the revenue department and has been given relatively less important industries portfolio. Thorat emerged as number two among Congress ministers by bagging revenue department. Another heavyweight Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil will have to be content with agriculture department.
As long as the NCP’s share of departments are concerned, Ajit Pawar seems to have taken control of them. Apart from finance and energy, politically important water resources (irrigation) has been allocated to his close aide, Sunil Tatkare.
Beyond this, there were no experiments in the NCP with Chhagan Bhujbal retaining his public works department portfolio. Reacting to the ministry formation, Chavan said he was happy with the new council of ministers. “Now it is upto you to analyse it. As far as we are concerned, we have started our work.”