Discontent In Aghadi Allies Delaying Allocation Of Portfolios In Maharashtra?
The wait for allocation of ministries in the newly-formed Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government is getting longer, underlining eluding consensus on key portfolios among ruling Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress, according to sources.
Though the allies have officially denied any discontent, sources said the post of deputy chief minister and Congress' demand for certain portfolios have emerged as the sticking points.
A senior Congress leader on Wednesday said the Sena is likely to keep Home and Urban Development portfolios while the NCP, the second-largest bloc in the 288-member Assembly, might get Irrigation, Housing and Finance.
According to him, the Congress, which has the lowest 44 MLAs among the three ruling constituents, might have to be content with Revenue, Energy, Education and PWD departments. As per norms, the Maharashtra government can accommodate maximum 43 ministers.
The three parties, which came together to form a coalition government in unusual political circumstances in November this year, have held a series of meetings for ironing out differences over allocation of portfolios.
As per reports, NCP stalwart Ajit Pawar is in reckoning for the post of deputy chief minister. Ajit, nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, had broken ranks with his party and joined hands with the BJP on Nov. 23 to form a government under Devendra Fadnavis, which lasted for just 80 hours.
Ajit had recently said that party workers wanted him to be the deputy CM.
Alongside CM Thackeray, Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai of the Sena, Jayant Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal of the NCP, and Nitin Raut and Balasaheb Thorat of the Congress had taken oath as ministers on Nov. 28.
The Cabinet expansion will take place after conclusion of the winter session of the state legislature on Nov. 21. Meanwhile, another senior Congress leader said the party is miffed over not getting key portfolios.
"We should get either Housing or Industries department. The portfolio allocation is not yet approved by the Congress high-command," he told PTI.