Eight hopefuls from western Maharashtra eye cabinet berth prize in next government
With the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Shiv Sena finalising their alliance and projecting Uddhav Thackeray as the next chief minister of Maharashtra, many from the three parties from western Maharashtra are hopeful of getting cabinet berths in the next state government.
The new government is set to be sworn in on Thursday and names of those getting the cabinet berths haven’t been released by the parties, though names of hopefuls are doing rounds in the political circles. Leaders of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress held meeting on Wednesday at Mumbai’s Yashwantrao Chavan Bhavan to discuss the names for the cabinet berths and portfolios.
While the Sena does not have any presence in Pune district, the party may go for a member of legislative council member and choose Neelam Gorhe for one of the portfolios. Gorhe, an MLA, is prominent party face representing its side in the media.
Of the 70 seats from western Maharashtra, Sena has bagged only five seats while the NCP won 21 seats and this poses a challenge for the party as it has to ensure that its political equations are not disturbed while selecting leaders for the cabinet berth.
From NCP’s side, Dilip Walse Patil, Jayant Patil along with Ajit Pawar are in the race for important portfolios. However, there is uncertainity over Ajit Pawar’s berth in cabinet given his recent revolt against the party.
Speaking to reporters in Mumbai, Ajit Pawar said, “Uddhav Thackeray will decide on my cabinet berth. As far as my political future is concerned, the party will decide it.”
In the race
1) Neelam Gorhe:
Shiv Sena spokeperson
Member of Legislative Council
Face of the Shiv Sena on television in the region
Hails from Pune
1) Balasaheb Thorat
Senior Congress member from Ahmednagar
MLA from Sangamner and state Congress chief
Likely to be get an important portfolio
2) Prithviraj Chavan
Former chief minister
MLA from Karad in Satara
May be appointed as speaker of the House
3) Vishwajeet Kadam
Second time Congress MLA from Palus Kadegaon
Son of late Congress veteran Patangrao Kadam
Won by huge margin
4) Sangram Thopte
Third time Congress MLA from Bhor in Pune district
Shares a good relationship with the Pawars
1) Jayant Patil
State chief of NCP
MLA from Sangli district
May become deputy chief minister
2) Dilip Walse Patil
MLA from Ambegaon in Pune district
Former assembly speaker
Soft spoken and Sharad Pawar’s close aide
3) Ajit Pawar
Seven-time MLA from Baramati
Former deputy chief minister
Rebelled against the party and joined hands with Devendra Fadnavis
Party will take call on his berth