Maharashtra: Sena to have 15 ministers, Ajit may not be in cabinet

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray (left) and NCP leader Ajit Pawar (right). File photo: PTI

Uddhav Thackeray will be sworn in as chief minister on Thursday (November 28) along with a deputy chief minister from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and one or two ministers from each party, senior NCP leader Praful Patel said.

The Congress, which is the third party in the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi coalition, is tipped to bag the Assembly Speaker’s post and 13 ministerial berths.

Curiously, Ajit Pawar, the nephew of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, will not be a part of the cabinet. But a size-able number of farmers from the state have demanded that he be made the deputy chief minister, reported India Today.

According to ANI, the Shiv Sena will have 15 ministers in the council of ministers while the NCP will get the deputy chief minister’s post and 13 other ministerial berths.

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Jayant Patil and Chaggan Bhujbal of the NCP, Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai of the Sena and Balasaheb Thorat and Ashok Chavan of the Congress are to be sworn in along with Uddhav, according to NDTV. Prithivraj Chavan of the Congress is likely to be the speaker.

The swearing-in is likely to be a show of strength by the Cong-NCP-Sena combine at the Shivaji park, the place where Bal Thackeray launched the Shiv Sena in 1966.

Top leaders of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress met on Wednesday afternoon at the YB Chavan auditorium to discuss power sharing formula after staking claim on Tuesday to form the government. Discussions were still on to finalise the modalities of the coalition.

Chief minister-designate Uddhav Thackeray, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Congress leader Ahmed Patel were present at the meeting of Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena MLAs.

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Thackeray, who will take oath as the Chief Minister of the state on Thursday, met Pawar separately earlier in the day to fine tune the formation of the new council of ministers. Pawar had also met senior Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, K C Venugopal and others before his talks with Thackeray.

Pawar has been at the centre of government formation talks among the three parties ever since the Sena reached out to the NCP and the Congress for an alliance

Earlier in the day, pro tem Speaker Kalidas Kolambkar administered the oath to the newly-elected legislators at a special session of the legislative assembly convened by Govenor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari on the orders of the Supreme Court.

On Tuesday, the top court had ordered the oath ceremony ahead of a floor test for former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis that was to be held by 5 pm on Wednesday. Fadnavis chose to resign on Tuesday instead of facing a trust vote.