Mumbai: With a section of Congress, which
will head the government in Maharashtra, reportedly keen on securing key portfolios, NCP on Monday favoured sticking to the 1999 formula under which it got key departments like home and finance.
While advocating adoption of the 1999 formula when too Congress had secured 20 seats more than NCP, union minister and senior party leader Praful Patel said "we decided on a formula where the party with largest number of seats gets the CM post and the partner gets the Dy CM post. NCP has not
laid claim to Chief ministership."
Patel, however, declined to reply to questions on
Congress`s insistence on important portfolios like home and finance which are with NCP for the last ten years.
"We are yet to get a proposal from Congress and hence on the basis of media reports, I cannot comment," Patel said to reporters after the re-election of Chhagan Bhujbal as the
leader of NCP legislature party.
While admitting that in 2004, when NCP had secured two seats more than Congress, the portfolio-sharing formula underwent a change, Patel said "in 1999 too, Congress had 20 seats more than us. We are not ready to discuss any change
from the 1999 position."
In 1999, after contesting the polls separately, Congress and NCP had formed the government adopting predecessor Shiv Sena-BJP model under which Congress got CM`s post and NCP
key portfolios like home, finance and irrigation.
Patel said Congress and NCP had completed the first step towards government-formation by electing leaders of their respective legislature parties. "The next round of talks will be held in New Delhi," he said.
Claiming the decision to continue with Chhagan Bhujbal as the leader of the NCP Legislature party was "unanimous", he denied a majority of MLAs in the legislature party meeting had pressed for Sharad Pawar`s nephew Ajit Pawar as the next
Patel said the legislature party meeting authorised Sharad Pawar to nominate the new leader. "I conveyed the decision of the MLAs to Pawar who told me to discuss the issue
with senior leaders and office bearers and take a decision," he said.
He said deliberations on the formation of the new
government will be completed in a few days.