Cong-NCP end deadlock, oath on Saturday

Cong-NCP combine has finally arrived on a compromise formula over allocation of ministerial berths.

Updated: Nov 06, 2009, 10:29 AM IST

Zeenews Bureau

Mumbai: The Cong-NCP is all set to form the next government in Maharashtra. As per the arrangement, announced by NCP spokesman D.P. Tripathi on Thursday, both his party will get 22 cabinet berths as compared to NCP`s 20.

"The NCP will retain home, finance and power portfolios while negotiations are continuing on some other portfolios," Tripathi told news agencies.

This evening, the Congress also completed its final crucial meeting at 10, Janpath - the residence of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Emerging from the meeting, Defence Minister AK Antony said: "Our negotiations are over, we have settled everything. The details are being worked out, we shall tell you tomorrow."

Asked when the swearing in of the new government would
take place, he said "ask the Chief Minister", Ashok Chavan who
was beside him.

However, Congress sources said that the swearing-in
is likely to take place on Saturday.

Reacting to Congress announcement, NCP leader and Union
Minsiter Praful Patel told news agencies "we are happy with the result
of the dialogue with the Congress party and we will join the
Reports now claim that the Congress-NCP combine will be meeting the Governor shortly and stake claim to form the government. The swearing-in ceremony is being planned for tomorrow.

Today’s developments come after top leadership of NCP held a meeting with party chief Sharad Pawar in New Delhi yesterday evening. The meet was attended by Ajit Pawar, Chhagan Bhujbal, R R Patil and Jayant Patil.

The two parties--the Congress with 82 seats and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) with 62 seats in the 288-member assembly--were haggling over allocation of portfolios, causing a delay in the forming of the new government. Results for the Assembly elections were declared on October 22.

Maharashtra Governor S C Jamir had earlier warned the winning alliance for the delay and had asked them to form the government as soon as possible.