Swearing in of Maharashtra ministers likely on Thursday

Amidst jockeying for ministerial berths, the expansion of Prithviraj Chavan-led government in Maharashtra is expected on Thursday.

New Delhi: Amidst jockeying for ministerial
berths, the expansion of Prithviraj Chavan-led government in
Maharashtra is expected on Thursday.

Chavan, who has talked about taking tough decisions while
finalising the list of ministers, continued his consultations
with central Congress leaders and also had a meeting with NCP
leader Praful Patel whose party is a major coalition partner.
Patel said he met Chavan to congratulate him on being
appointed as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra as he could not
meet him earlier.

Maharashtra Sadan here is buzzing with activity with
ministerial hopefuls, MLAs and state Congress leaders making a
beeline to lobby with the high command.

Chavan had held a series of meetings with Defence
Minister A K Antony and senior Congress leader Ahmad Patel
since yesterday. His predecessor Ashok Chavan is also trying
hard for his rehabilitation either in the party or in the
government.

"The swearing-in is unlikely to take place tomorrow," a
senior minister in the Ashok Chavan-led government told
reporters here.
Prithviraj Chavan has indicated that he would induct all
the ministers from the Congress quota of 23 berths in one go.
However, he is likely to keep one or two berths vacant, quite
unlike his predecessors Ashok Chavan and Vilasrao Deshmukh who
had inducted only 18 ministers during their tenures.

Nine NCP leaders were sworn-in as ministers along with
Chavan and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar of NCP last week.

Allocation of portfolios is yet to be done and NCP may
add more ministers as it has a quota of 20 ministerial berths
as per the power-sharing arrangement with Congress.

Chavan was scheduled to meet NCP chief Sharad Pawar here
today but the meeting could not materialise as the latter was
indisposed and admitted to the Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai
yesterday.

The meeting may take place tomorrow when Pawar would
discharged from the hospital.

PTI

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