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Friday, Dec 13, 2019

Maharashtra government’s portfolios yet to be allocated

mumbai Updated: Dec 04, 2019 00:30 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik

After a delay of over a month in forming the government in Maharashtra, the three-party coalition of Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress is now undecided over allocating portfolios to the six ministers who were sworn-in last Thursday.

Senior leaders from the three parties have been holding parleys for the past five days, but haven’t reached a consensus yet, insiders said. There are talks that the ministers may be given charge of a few portfolios ahead of the winter session of the state legislature, which starts on December 16, as a temporary arrangement. The cabinet expansion and reshuffle of portfolios is likely to happen after December 21 (the day the session concludes). This will give time to the three parties to resolve their issues. “The Shiv Sena is not keen on parting with the home department, which the NCP is insisting on it. Sena leader and legislative party leader Eknath Shinde is interested in becoming the next home minister,” said an insider, privy to the development.

Shinde was one of the contenders for the chief ministerial position as Thackeray wasn’t keen on taking up the responsibility. “We believe home is the most important portfolio in a government, followed by urban development and revenue department. The Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress were expected to get one portfolio each, but the Sena is insisting on home and urban development,” said a minister.

While the Sena and Congress are keen on cabinet expansion, NCP chief Sharad Pawar expressed his reservation. “Although he didn’t take any action against Ajit Pawar for his rebellion, Pawarsaheb wants to send a message to the party that he didn’t allow Ajit to get a place in the state cabinet immediately,” said a senior leader.

On Monday, in an interview to a news channel, Pawar admitted there was pressure from a faction of NCP leaders over not taking any action against Ajit Pawar for his rebellion.

On Tuesday, senior leaders of the Congress, along with the two cabinet ministers, Balasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut, met in Delhi to resolve the issue.

Jayant Patil, NCP minister, said allotting portfolios is the chief minister’s prerogative. “We are hoping the exercise will be completed in a day or two,” Patil said.

Political analyst Prakash Bal said: “Allocation of resources will take place in due course. We can’t call it a delay. The government has taken charge and started running,” Bal said.