NCP may take over home portfolio from Shiv Sena with Ajit Pawar as its minister in Maharashtra
On Saturday, Ajit Pawar, too, indicated this by saying that the party has sought one more portfolio in the power-sharing formula between the Sena, NCP and Congress, and expects to get the same.Updated: Dec 16, 2019 07:47 IST
With chief minister (CM) Uddhav Thackeray expected to expand his cabinet later this month, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) may get the home portfolio, which is currently with the Shiv Sena. The party leaders are confident that Ajit Pawar, who is likely to be inducted as deputy CM, will head the department.
On Saturday, Pawar, too, indicated this by saying that the party has sought one more portfolio in the power-sharing formula between the Sena, NCP and Congress, and expects to get the same.
Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande said things will be clear after the winter session of the state Legislature. “I think we should wait and watch for now. The winter session starts from Monday and everything will be clear once it concludes,” she said.
Meanwhile, CM Thackeray on Saturday swapped departments between two NCP ministers — Jayant Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal. While Patil has now got water resources department, Bhujbal is in charge of minority affairs and food and civil supplies departments. On Thursday, CM Thackeray had allocated portfolios to six ministers who were sworn in along with him on November 28. Of the total 47 portfolios, the Sena got the maximum — 22 — departments, NCP got 13 and Congress 12.
Among other departments, the Sena has got the home portfolio, which the NCP, too, is keen on keeping. A senior NCP leader said the two parties have discussed the issue. “We are getting the home portfolio in the next cabinet expansion when [Ajit] Pawar will be sworn-in as the deputy CM. He is likely to get the home department,” said the NCP leader. “Both Patil and Bhujbal are senior leaders and the party doesn’t want any differences over the home portfolio. Hence, it was decided that it remain it with the Sena as of now,” he said. So far, neither Patil nor Bhujbal have been given deputy CM’s position, despite the party getting it as part of the power-sharing formula among the three allies.
Pawar, who was addressing workers at a party event in Pune on Saturday, said the allocation of portfolios is temporary in nature as the government will have to complete the winter session of the state Legislature, starting from December 16 in Nagpur. “Housing department is important when it comes to urban areas and cooperation is important for the party. Hence, we have taken both the departments. The NCP may get one more portfolio, but we will have to wait for some time,” he said.
The party workers present at the meeting also demanded that Pawar become the deputy CM. Responding to this, Pawar said, “Wait for some time.”
Going against the party leadership, Pawar, along with a splinter group of NCP MLAs, had extended support to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and formed a government in the state on November 23. While Fadnavis was sworn in as the CM, Pawar had taken oath as the deputy CM. However, as most of the MLAs who had allegedly supported Ajit’s rebellion returned to the party fold, he and Fadnavis were forced to resign on November 26. Pawar, too, “returned” to the NCP and it seems the party leadership has decided to given him another chance.
The anti-corruption bureau has already cleared him of allegations in connection with an irrigation scam as the then water resources minister, by filing an affidavit in the high court in November.