Ashok Chavan stakes claim to form Maharashtra govt

Ashok Chavan stakes claim to form Maharashtra govt New Delhi: After a 15-day long wait, Maharashtra chief minister-elect Ashok Chavan Friday staked formal claim to forming the new government with the support of 170 legislators.

The swearing-in ceremony of the new Democratic Front government will be held here Saturday evening.

Chavan, along with deputy chief minister-designate Chhagan Bhujbal and top office-bearers of both Congress and Nationalist Congress Party met Governor S.C. Jamir at the Raj Bhavan and submitted the letters of support of 170 legislators.

These include 82 of Congress, 62 of the NCP, and the rest independents and other smaller parties in the 288-member house, an office-bearer said.

Earlier in the day Chavan held discussions with Congress President Sonia Gandhi, a day after the party sealed a deal with ally NCP to form government in the state.

Chavan is understood to have discussed allocation of portfolios at the meeting where senior Congress leaders A K Antony and Ahmad Patel were also present.

Congress and NCP announced last night that they had reached an agreement on power sharing and a new government is likely to be sworn in tomorrow.

NCP is expected to retain the key portfolios of Home, Finance, Power and Rural Development while Congress could be getting Public Health.

As government formation was delayed after declaration of assembly poll results on October 23 due to hard negotiations between Congress and NCP over portfolio-sharing, Jamir had nudged both the parties to show a sense of urgency to put in place a government.

Bureau Report