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Usual suspects to get cabinet berths

State cabinet to be expanded as Congress is ready with list of ministers after settling differences with NCP over ministerial berths.

mumbai Updated: Nov 18, 2010 02:00 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

A week after the first lot of ministers was sworn in and the allies, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), amicably sorted out their differences over sharing ministerial berths, the state cabinet would be finally expanded on Thursday.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar took the oath of office along with nine NCP ministers last Thursday.

But, the expansion was delayed as the Congress continued to scout for the right candidates. Meanwhile, the NCP asked for one more ministerial berth, which further delayed the cabinet expansion.

However, on Wednesday, the allies finally settled for a berth sharing formula for the 43-member council of ministers. The Congress will have 23 ministers and the remaining 20 would be from the NCP.

The matter was settled amicably as the NCP did not push for more berths in a meeting of senior leaders.

"We have run the coalition government without any hiccups in the past. And, right now as well there are no differences. The change in government took place because of certain circumstances and hence there is no need for any other change,'' said senior NCP leader and Union civil aviation minister Praful Patel.

However, according to sources, Pawar is not convinced with the berth sharing formula and may rake up the issue later.

Chavan said that there was no issue between the allies and he would finalise the Congress list after discussing it with party president Sonia Gandhi, who was expected to him in New Delhi late on Wednesday night. While both parties said their lists were ready, none revealed any names.

However, both Chavan and Patel confirmed that the swearing in ceremony for the remaining cabinet would take place on Thursday.

According to sources, senior Congress and NCP leaders, who have been in the cabinet for the past ten years, were about to be inducted again. The NCP has already included nine such leaders. The Congress is also expected to bring in new faces, but mostly in the junior ranks.

First Published: Nov 18, 2010 01:59 IST