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NCP leader in Cabinet, Cong men too want berths

Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar, a senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader, is all set to be inducted into the Cabinet soon.

mumbai Updated: Jun 28, 2010 03:20 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar, a senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader, is all set to be inducted into the Cabinet soon.

He had to quit the state council of ministers in May because he could not become a member of the either legislative house within six months from swearing in as minister.

Nimbalkar was elected to the Upper House early this month and being a Member of Legislative Council he can be made a minister once again.

A trusted associate of party chief Sharad Pawar, Nimbalkar was rewarded with a Cabinet berth for working hard during the Lok Sabha poll campaign in Pawar’s Madha segment. Nimbalkar could not contest the Assembly elections as delimitation had erased his Phaltan constituency in Satara district.

Nimbalkar’s party colleague and Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal has written a letter to Chief Minister Ashok Chavan to facilitate the MLC’s induction.

Sources said that Nimbalka’s swearing-in was likely to be held before the Monsoon Session of the State Legislature that begins from July 12. He is expected to get the Water Resources Department (Krishna Valley Irrigation Corporation), the charge he held for more than 10 years.

With this development, Congress aspirants too have started lobbying for the Cabinet berths because the party still has five vacancies. The state’s council of ministers has an approved capacity of 43 of which the NCP has got 20 in a seat-sharing formula with the Congress. Nimbalkar’s return will fill up the NCP’s sole vacancy. But what upsets the Congress legislators is that Chavan hasn’t expanded the council after assuming the charge last November.

“Several legislators have been lobbying hard for the Cabinet berths. Their activity gains momentum whenever there is a talk of Cabinet expansion,” said senior Congress minister.

The minister said the godfathers of the aspirant MLAs would play a crucial role. “In the Congress, one needs the support of senior leaders who are based in New Delhi to get poll tickets, Cabinet berths and party positions. Also, Chavan’s preference will also work,” he added.

First Published: Jun 28, 2010 03:19 IST