Govt formation after Monday`s NCP LP leader election: Chavan

Last Updated: Sunday, October 25, 2009 - 21:25

New Delhi/Mumbai: As the Congress endorsed
him for another term as Maharashtra CM, Ashok
Chavan on Sunday said he does not expect any problem in government formation exercise which will begin after ally NCP elects the leader of its legislature party on Monday.

In an indication that NCP may lose some portfolios it
held in the previous term,, Chavan made it clear that
government formation would take into account the strength of
the Congress and the NCP in the Maharashtra Assembly.

Chavan, for whom the party endorsement came as an advance
birthday gift, also said there is "no question" of taking the
support of Raj Thackeray`s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS)
which made a stunning debut winning 13 seats. He turns 51 on
Wednesday.

The Congress-NCP combine won 144 seats, one short of a
majority in the 288-member House. Of this Congress won 82
seats and NCP bagged the remaining 62 as against 68 and 71
respectively in 2004. In the outgoing government, NCP had 24
ministers while 19 were from the Congress.

Describing his second innings as a "Test match", Chavan
said government formation would be a smooth exercise but
refused to get into its nitty gritty maintaining it would be
inappropriate to speak on the issue without talking to NCP.

"This would be a Test match and not a one-day match," he
said when asked to comment on his priorities in the second
innings.

The new leader of the NCP legislature party will be the
Deputy Chief Minister. Water Resources Minister Ajit Pawar,
nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, appears to be the front
runner for the post. However, present incumbent Chhagan
Bhujbal is also keen to continue in the post, NCP sources said
in Mumbai.

Congress announced that Chavan would continue as Chief
Minister after a meeting of senior leaders with party chief
Sonia Gandhi which concluded past midnight last night.

Chavan, who won from Bhokar by a margin of over one
lakh votes, met senior Congress leaders, including A K Antony,
Digvijay Singh, K Rahaman Khan, Ahmad Patel, Shivraj Patil to
thank them for their support during the elections.

He also called on President Pratibha Patil.
Chavan also met NCP chief and Agriculture Minister
Sharad Pawar with whom he discussed the issue of cotton
purchase as the harvest season for the crop was to begin from
November 1.

Asked whether he discussed the issue of government
formation with Pawar, the chief minister replied in the
negative.

Chavan also said that there were no discussions yet on
demanding the post of the Speaker of the Assembly from the
NCP. NCP leader Babasaheb Kupekar is the Speaker of the
outgoing assembly.

Bureau Report



First Published: Sunday, October 25, 2009 - 21:25

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