Several Sena, NCP, Cong political heavyweights likely in new Maharashtra govt
The government formation talks between the parties have reached the last leg. The names of probable faces in the state cabinet, a tough choice for all three parties considering the number of aspirants, are making the rounds.Updated: Nov 22, 2019 10:41 IST
The Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress government in Maharashtra is likely to have several political heavyweights, including Ajit Pawar, Chhagan Bhujbal, Jayant Patil and Balasaheb Thorat.
The government formation talks between the parties have reached the last leg. The names of probable faces in the state cabinet, a tough choice for all three parties considering the number of aspirants, are making the rounds. Except for the post of the chief ministership, which will go to Shiv Sena, there is no official agreement on the sharing of other ministerial berths. Of the 43 ministerial berths, the Sena and NCP are expected to get 15-16 berths, while the Congress will have to settle for 12-13 berths. The number has been decided in proportion to the seats won. The NCP and Congress are likely to get the posts of deputy chief minister, with Ajit Pawar and Balasaheb Thorat the likely faces. If the Congress gets the post of speaker in the legislative Assembly, former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan could be the pick.
Senior Sena functionaries said some key leaders, including Eknath Shinde, Ravindra Waikar, Sanjay Rathod, Dada Bhuse, Gulabrao Patil and Tanaji Sawant, could be retained as ministers. However, the party may not repeat Deepak Kesarkar, who was the minister in the previous government, as he was known to be close to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership. Thackeray scion Aaditya who, won from Worli, is unlikely to be included as a minister, said a party functionary.
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The Sena is still undecided over the induction of 77-year-old Subhash Desai. A trusted lieutenant of Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, Desai may be accommodated in some other capacity, a functionary said. “A final decision on the names is yet to be taken. The leadership is considering keeping some old ministers, while including aggressive leaders,” the functionary said.
The party is likely to induct Abdul Sattar, who was a cabinet minister in the Congress-NCP government in the state, as Muslim face of the party. “His inclusion could give a new perspective of the Shiv Sena,” said a functionary in the know of developments.
The party is also considering giving ministerial positions to aggressive leaders, including Ramdas Kadam, Bhaskar Jadhav, and Anil Parab, an MLC, to counter the NCP-Congress colleagues. The Sena is considering making Uday Samant a junior minister. The Sena is looking at giving representation to Vidarbha by including Ashish Jaiswal, a four-time MLA from Ramtek in Nagpur district.
The NCP has zeroed in on names of Ajit Pawar, Jayant Patil, Chhagan Bhujbal, Dilip Walse Patil, Jitendra Awhad, Nawab Malik, Anil Deshmukh, Rajesh Tope and Dharmarao Atram. The party has also decided to induct opposition leader in the legislative council Dhanajay Munde, while first-time MLA Aditi Tatkare may get an opportunity to join the cabinet. “The exodus ahead of the Assembly polls has worked in our favour, as the number of aspirants has reduced. Secondly, 25 MLAs have been elected for the first time, making it easier for us to pick. We will try to strike a regional and caste balance,” said an NCP leader.
Congress state unit chief Balasaheb Thorat is likely to get revenue portfolio, along with the post of deputy chief minister.
Former chief ministers Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan are unlikely to be inducted. Other senior leaders Vijay Wadettiwar, Nitin Raut, Arif Nasim Khan, Amit Deshmukh, KC Padvi, Satej Patil, Kunal Patil, Varsha Gaikwad, Yashomati Thakur, Nana Patole are probable candidates.
“We have two former chief ministers and a number of experienced faces in the race, but the induction of new faces will help the party’s revival in rural Maharashtra. Our sentiments have been conveyed to the leadership,” an MLA from western Maharashtra said.