NCP retains Bhujbal as Deputy CM

NCP named Chhagan Bhujbal for the post of Deputy Chief Minister, and ruled out yielding key portfolios.

Updated: Oct 27, 2009, 09:25 AM IST

Mumbai: Opting for status quo, Congresss ally
NCP today named Chhagan Bhujbal for the post of Deputy Chief
Minister in Maharashtra and ruled out yielding key portfolios
like Home and Finance to the senior coalition partner.

Both Bhujbal(62) and party leader Praful Patel, who announced the name of the prominent OBC leader to head the
NCP Legislature Party, insisted that a 1999 formula under which it got Home, Finance and Power be the basis for portfolio allocation which is expected to be a ticklish issue.

The NCP`s stand was outlined in the wake of a section of the Congress reportedly keen on securing these key portfolios to reflect the party`s increased strength in the Assembly.

For the record, Bhujbal said the NCP has not received any official proposal from the Congress for portfolio allocation but said NCP would demand implementation of the formula in
1999 when the two parties formed a coalition government.

Patel said the decision to continue with Bhujbal was
"unanimous". It will the third term as deputy CM for Bhujbal
who has come a long way from being a rabble-rouser in his Shiv
Sena days.

Talks on portfolio distribution between Congress and NCP
will be held in New Delhi, Patel said.

Congress won 82 seats and NCP bagged 62 as against 68 and
71 respectively in 2004. In the outgoing government, NCP had
24 ministers while 19 were from the Congress.

Patel made the announcement on Bhujbal after a meeting
of the NCP legislature party here which had authorised NCP
chief Sharad Pawar to decide on the new leader.
Water resources minister Ajit Pawar, a nephew of Sharad
Pawar and who was one of the front-runners for the post, was
among those who seconded the resolution, authorising the NCP
supremo to name the leader of the Legislature Party. Bhujbal
said he had the backing of Ajit.

Bureau Report