Maharashtra govt formation: NCP to get deputy CM post, Congress to get Speaker post
While Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will be the chief minister, the government will have a deputy chief minister from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), according to the power-sharing formula between the Sena, NCP and Congress. The Congress gave up its stake to deputy chief ministership, preferring the post of the Speaker of the Assembly instead.
Two ministers from each of the three parties will take oath with Thackeray at Shivaji Park on Thursday. The likely names are state Congress president Balasaheb Thorat, NCP’s Jayant Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal and Shiv Sena’s Eknath Shinde.
NCP leader Praful Patel said, “Uddhav Thackeray’s cabinet will have only one deputy chief minister, from the NCP. Two ministers each from the three parties will be sworn in on Thursday.” Patel said the expansion of the cabinet will take place after the Thackeray government proves its majority on the floor of the house.
The sharing of the ministerial berths between the parties was finalised after rounds of meetings throughout the day and a joint meeting that lasted for more than four hours on Wednesday evening.
Under the pact, the Shiv Sena will get 16 berths, including the post of the chief minister; the NCP is likely to get 14 berths, including the post of deputy chief minister; and the Congress will get 12 ministerial berths. Bachhu Kadu-led Prahar Janashakti is expected to get a berth from the Sena’s quota, while Raju Shetti-led Shetkari Sanghatana is expected to get one ministerial berth from the combined quota of the Congress and NCP. The Congress was offered two more ministerial berths, if it gave up its claim for the post of Speaker, while the NCP was ready to give up one berth for the post. “We have finalised the formula to share the ministerial berths and statutory boards, statutory corporations and seats of the legislative Council,” Patel said.
State NCP leader Jayant Patil is the frontrunner for the post of deputy chief minister, while Ajit Pawar is expected to get the finance or home department. Congress’s senior leader and former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan is expected to be chosen for the post of Speaker. Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat is expected to get the revenue department.
Besides, home and finance, the NCP is expected to get the public works and irrigation department, while the Congress is expected to bag agriculture, women and child welfare, housing, among other departments. The Shiv Sena may get the urban development, excise and environment departments.
Among the ministerial berths, the Sena will get 11 cabinet and four ministers of state, excluding the chief minister’s post. For the NCP, it would be 11 cabinet and four ministers of state, while the Congress will have nine cabinet and three junior ministers.
Maharashtra Governor has given the Shiv Sena-led government seven days (till December 3) to submit a list of MLAs supporting the government. The government is expected to hold a two-day session for the election of the Assembly speaker and trust vote before December 3. The three parties held meetings separately through the day, followed by meetings between the Congress and NCP and a joint meeting of all three parties at YB Chavan Centre. The joint meeting was attended by NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and central leaders of the Congress, including Ahmed Patel, KC Venugopal and Mallikarjun Kharge, along with other state leaders.
Kharge, however, said a few issues were unresolved. “We have almost arrived at a consensus, barring a few issues. Smaller issues can be sorted out even after the formation of the cabinet,” he said.