No Headway in Maharashtra Portfolio Allocation Despite 5-hour Marathon Meet as Allies Bargain for Lion's Share
The Congress, which has got 12 berths in the state government, wants two additional departments related to rural areas, while there are internal claims within the NCP for the home portfolio.
(Illustration by Mir Suhail/News18)
Mumbai: Trouble seems to be brewing in the Uddhav Thackeray government over cabinet berths as the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi was unable to reach a consensus on portfolio allocation even after a marathon meeting of over five hours.
Sources aware of the developments said talks among the constituents of MVA — Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress — were not just on cabinet berths but also the appointment of guardian ministers.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Congress leader Ashok Chavan said his party had conveyed its stand about portfolio allocation to the Maharashtra chief minister at the meeting attended by him, Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat, NCP's Ajit Pawar and Shiv Sena's Eknath Shinde and others.
The Congress, which has got 12 berths in the state government, wants two additional departments related to rural areas. "We gave our proposal to the CM. He will take a call," Chavan said while downplaying reports about resentment in the party over portfolio distribution.
On Thursday, NCP chief Sharad Pawar too rubbished rumours of discontent in the ruling coalition, saying nobody was unhappy over portfolio allocation. "The decision on portfolio allocation has been made. Who will get what, it has been decided. I think the chief minister will declare it today evening or tomorrow (Friday)," Pawar said.
Four days after the expansion of the Maharashtra cabinet, the Thackeray government is reportedly struggling with the issue of portfolio allocation as squabbles within the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi haven’t yet been resolved. To make matters worse, internal dissent within the constituents of the MVA has exposed the fissures in the alliance.
In the Shiv Sena, sources said, several MLAs are unhappy over “lost opportunities”. Bhaskar Jadhav, Pratap Sarnaik, Sunil Raut — Sanjay Raut’s brother — Prakash Abitkar, and Tanaji Sawant are among MLAs who have voiced their discontent with losing out on a ministerial post. In fact, there were murmurs in political circles that Thackeray’s confidant Sanjay Raut skipped the swearing-in ceremony as he was upset over his brother being denied a ministerial berth. The senior Sena leader, however, rubbished the insinuations.
In a list of probable Sena ministers and their portfolios, Aaditya Thackeray is likely to get the environment or higher and technical education portfolio, Sanjay Rathod is tipped to get transport, while Gulabrao Patil could get agriculture.
Within the Congress, both Ashok Chavan and Balasaheb Thorat are contenders for the revenue portfolio. A day after expansion of Maharashtra cabinet, some voices of resentment were heard in the Congress camp with at least one senior leader hoping that the party brass takes note of the feeling that loyalists are being ignored at a time when they deserved an opportunity.
So far as the home portfolio is concerned, there are internal claims within the Sharad Pawar-led NCP for the post.
The BJP and Sena, which fought the assembly polls in alliance, had secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats, respectively, in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly. However, the state witnessed a political crisis after the Sena broke its three-decade-long ties with the BJP after the latter declined to share the chief minister's post.
An irate Sena then joined hands with the NCP and Congress to form a government headed by Uddhav Thackeray, who took oath as CM on November 28. According to the power-sharing formula agreed on by the three parties, the Shiv Sena would have 16 ministers (apart from chief minister), NCP 14 and the Congress 12.
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