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NCP leader Anil Deshmukh likely to be new home minister of Maharashtra

Aaditya Thackeray is likely to become the new environment minister.

Updated: Jan 03, 2020 12:15 IST

By Faisal Malik, Hindustan Times Mumbai

NCP leader Anil Deshmukh takes the oath during Maharashtra cabinet expansion at in Mumbai, on December 30, 2019. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)

Five days after 36 ministers were sworn-in, the allocation of portfolios of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi is expected to be announced on Friday, and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Anil Deshmukh is likely to become the new home minister of Maharashtra.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is expected to keep only one portfolio - General Administration Department - which is related to state administration.

Deshmukh’s name emerged after Ajit Pawar chose not to take up the portfolio for the time being. The Maharashtra deputy chief minister is wary of the court’s objection to Pawar heading the department when the police are probing his role in the irrigation scam.

The state’s anti-corruption bureau (ACB) recently gave Pawar a clean chit in the irrigation corruption cases, but it has not been ratified by the court yet. Pawar is also named as an accused in a complaint filed by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank scam.



Ajit Pawar is likely to head the finance department, while Eknath Shinde is expected to get urban development department. Balasaheb Thorat is tipped to get revenue, Jayant Patil is likely to handle water resources (irrigation), Subhash Desai likely to get industries, Chhagan Bhujbal is likely to get food and civil supplies while Dilip Walse-Patil is likely to get excise portfolio. Housing department is likely to be given to Jitendra Awhad and health is likely to go to Rajesh Tope. Rajendra Shingne is likely to be minister for food and drug administration, Nawab Malik likely to be labour minister while Dhanjay Munde is likely to be minister for social justice.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aaditya is likely to become the new environment minister, his trusted aide Anil Parab is likely to be given chief minister’s office (CMO) and Uday Samant is likely to be the new transport minister.

NCP insiders said that following the debate in the top brass over the propriety of giving home department to Ajit Pawar when he is facing an anti-corruption bureau probe, the deputy chief minister chose not to take the portfolio till he is cleared of the charges. Since Patil and Walse-Patil were not keen on handling the department for a short period, it is likely to be given to Deshmukh, said a senior leader of the party.

The differences over portfolio allocation between ruling coalition of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress is said to have been resolved in a meeting that lasted more than four hours late on Thursday night.

Congress minister Ashok Chavan, emerging out of the meeting, said that the Congress has sent their proposal for portfolio allocation to the Chief Minister and the decision has to be taken by him now. “Since it’s a three-party coalition government and it is impossible to accommodate all the leaders, we will see how all of them will be given some work in the new government,” he said.

Portfolio allocations were delayed after the Congress, which has got 12 berths in the Uddhav Thackeray-led government, sought one more portfolio with a rural connect, which has not been accepted by the chief minister. Within Congress, there is a tussle for the revenue department between Thorat and Chavan. Other senior ministers too want influential departments.

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