Ajit Pawar pockets finance, Aaditya Thackeray gets tourism, environment in Maharashtra cabinet expansion
The portfolio allocation indicates that the balance of power in the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi, made up of the three parties, tilts in favour of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Sunday morning gave his seal of approval to the list of portfolios to be given to the new ministers in the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi coalition.
The 43-member strong cabinet comprising leaders from three parties can finally get to work. The long awaited portfolio allocation was finalised late on Saturday evening by the chief minister.
Nationalist Congress Party’s Ajit Pawar, who broke ranks and joined BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis as his deputy CM for a very brief time, pocketed the finance portfolio in the Sena-led coalition. Anil Deshmukh, another NCP leader, was made the state home minister.
Deshmukh, a senior NCP leader from Nagpur, was picked for the crucial job after Ajit Pawar conveyed he would not like to take up this portfolio at this stage. According to NCP insiders, the party top brass as well as Ajit Pawar himself were wary of him handling the home portfolio while the irrigation scam inquiry is still being heard in the High Court.
Aaditya Thackeray, the Worli MLA who made his electoral debut this year, was tasked with tourism, environment and protocol ministry.
CM Uddhav Thackeray will hold the charge of Ministry of General Administration, Information&Technology, Information&Public Relations, Law &Judiciary and other departments which have not been allocated to any other Minister.
Congress, which is the junior partner in the coalition, saw its Balasaheb Thorat being handed the responsibility for the revenue ministry.
The portfolio allocation indicates that the balance of power in the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi, made up of the three parties, tilts in favour of the NCP. The NCP has not just got for itself most ministerial posts (16) but also retained the most crucial of the departments for its ministers. The Shiv Sena besides the CM has 14 other ministerial posts but has retained fewer important portfolios like urban development, agriculture and industries. The Congress has got 10 ministerial posts and two crucial departments like revenue and PWD.
The Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government had been facing criticism from the opposition BJP for delay in the allocation of portfolios despite being in power for over a month now.
Chief Minister Thackeray and six of his council members - two each from the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress - took oath on November 28.
Thackeray expanded his month-old ministry on December 30 by inducting 36 ministers.