Decision on portfolios for six Maharashtra ministers likely today
Thackeray, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and other senior leaders from their parties met on Friday to discuss portfolio allocation for the six ministers – Sena’s Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai; NCP’s Chhagan Bhujbal and Jayant Patil; and Congress’s Balasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut.Updated: Dec 07, 2019 05:49 IST
A decision on allocating portfolios to the six ministers, who were sworn-in along with Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on November 28, is likely to be taken on Saturday, when senior leaders of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) — a coalition between Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress — meet in Mumbai. However, a decision on cabinet expansion is likely to be taken after the state Legislature’s winter session, which begins on December 16.
Thackeray, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and other senior leaders from their parties met on Friday to discuss portfolio allocation for the six ministers – Sena’s Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai; NCP’s Chhagan Bhujbal and Jayant Patil; and Congress’s Balasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut. After deliberations, the leaders decided to meet along with Congress leaders on Saturday.
“There is consensus on some of portfolios, while on some others, there could not be an agreement. For instance, both Sena and NCP want home portfolio… Things will get clearer once leaders from all three parties come together again on Saturday,” said a senior NCP leader, requesting anonymity. “Inclusion of Ajit Pawar as the deputy chief minister in the Thackeray government was also discussed in the meeting; and it is likely that the latter will get the position during the cabinet expansion.”
The meeting, which took place at Nehru Centre in Worli, wasn’t a scheduled one.
A Shiv Sena leader, who did not want to be named, said the six ministers will be given temporary portfolios till chief minister Thackeray expands his cabinet. “The two leaders discussed cabinet expansion during the meeting, but it is expected to happen only after the winter session of the legislature,” said the leader, adding that Ajit Pawar’s inclusion in the cabinet was discussed too. “It is the NCP president’s decision on who to include in the cabinet [from his party], but it [Ajit Pawar’s inclusion] was discussed.”
According to leaders in the know the NCP chief is not keen on an immediate cabinet expansion. He wants Ajit Pawar to wait for a while before inducting him in the cabinet, especially after his rebellion against the party last month.
However, there has been pressure from Sena, Congress and also a faction of NCP that cabinet expansion should be completed as early as possible.
The reason: Winter session of the state legislature begins on December 16 and it will become difficult for the government to manage legislative business smoothly without having some more ministers.