Newly elected Uddhav Thackeray-led cabinet has six ministers besides chief minister Thackeray. The swearing-in is likely to take place at the Vidhan Bhavan (state legislature complex) in Mumbai. The much-awaited expansion of the Maharashtra council of ministers will take place on December 30. As many as 36 ministers could take oath on that day, revealed Congress party insiders to media.
Meanwhile, state Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat told reporters that his party’s list of the leaders who would take oath as ministers were ready. The cabinet expansion which was likely to take place earlier this week was delayed because entire state administration was in Nagpur for the winter session of the legislature till last week. “It takes time to make preparations for the swearing-in of so many ministers,“Thorat said. Thorat and Nitin Raut of the Congress, Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai of the Shiv Sena and Jayant Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal of the NCP took oath along with Thackeray 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. When asked if NCP chief Sharad Pawar — seen as the architect of this unlikely alliance – was the ‘remote control’ of the state government, Thorat said the three parties have framed a common minimum program, which guides the government. The Shiv Sena joined hands with the Congress and NCP, its traditional adversaries, after its alliance with the BJP collapsed.
When asked if Congress was seeking the post of deputy Chief Minister, Thorat replied, “Media can run this story.”Meanwhile the Congress wants a formidable leader in the government to balance other two alliance partners. As a result a section in Maharashtra is keen to push for the inclusion of both former chief ministers Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan in the government. Both these leaders possess administrative and organizational experience. However, another section from the party is in favour of inclusion of one chief minister in the state cabinet while the other can be given top organizational post. Already Balasaheb Thorat has joined the coalition government and is the revenue minister. Currently the portfolio has been distributed among six ministers who make up the cabinet with two each from Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress.