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National

Week since oath, still no portfolios for ministers

December 07, 2019 05:40 AM

COURTESY MIRROR DEC 7
Power sharing arrangement of 16:14: 12 berths nixed as Congress, NCP reportedly change mind; all eyes now on Sharad Pawar to broker a truce
Chaitanya Marpakwar and Yogesh Naik
mirrorfeedback@timesgroup.com
TWEETS @MumbaiMirror

Over a week since taking oath, the six ministers of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government still have no jobs. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is yet to assign portfolios to the NCP’s Jayant Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal, the Congress’ Balasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut, and the Shiv Sena’s Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai.

No appointment in the chief minister’s officer, barring that of former Joint Municipal Commissioner Sudhir Naik on Thursday as officer on special duty, has been made either.


A Sena functionary blamed a tussle over plum portfolios for the delay. The Congress apparently wants industries, revenue, women and child welfare, tribal welfare and school education ministries. The Sena has reportedly asked for total control of urban development, housing, irrigation, water supply and sanitation, excise and transport departments as well the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation. The NCP is said to have dug in its heels over finance, revenue, home and housing.

The Sena functionary claimed that a power sharing formula of 16:14:12 had been agreed upon, but the Congress and the NCP have now changed their minds. According to that deal, each party would get a ministerial berth for every four MLAs. The Sena, which has 56 MLAs, would, therefore, get 16 ministerial berths, the NCP 14 and the Congress 12.

Party leaders expect the dithering to end with the return of NCP chief Sharad Pawar from Delhi. He was expected to arrive in Mumbai on Friday night.

The failure to allocate portfolios has taken even the six ministers by surprise. “We were expecting to get portfolios as early as possible. The delay has had a big impact on the state administration. There has been virtually no government for over a month,” said one of the ministers. The assembly election results were announced on October 24. “It’s embarrassing. We can’t go into the [assembly] winter session without portfolios,” said the minister.

The winter session will be held from December 16-23. Thackeray is expected to expand his cabinet after that. In the absence of a full-fledged cabinet, the six ministers will have to take on 12-14 departments each when answering questions in the legislature. “The government is perhaps hoping that no question will be raised by the Opposition as the session will last only a week,” said the Sena functionary.

 

 
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