Mumbai: Ajit Pawar, a senior leader of Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party took oath as the Deputy of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray today – more than a month after he had sided with the BJP and became the deputy of Devendra Fadnavis. Mr Thackeray’s son Aaditya Thackeray also took oath as part of the cabinet along with 34 other legislators. In November, Ajit Pawar broke ranks from his party to ally with the BJP and took oath along with Mr Fadnavis in an early-morning surprise ceremony. But he quit hours before a Supreme Court-ordered floor test, ending the BJP’s dramatic 80-hour bid to seize power.
Here are the Top 10 points in this big story:
- Around 36 ministers – of both Cabinet and Minister of State ranks — take oath today. Ten are from the Congress. Former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan is likely to get the public works department portfolio, the sources said.
- From the Congress, Ashok Chavan, K C Padvi, Vijay Wadettiwar, Amit Deshmukh, Sunil Kadar, Yashomati Thakur, Varsha Gaikwad and Aslam Sheikh, Satej Patil and Vishwajeet Kada are a part of the expanded cabinet.
- On November 28, Balasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut of Congress, Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai of the Shiv Sena and Jayant Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal of the NCP took oath along with Uddhav Thackeray.
- Maharashtra can have a maximum of 43 ministers. The size of council of ministers cannot exceed 15 per cent of the total number of MLAs in the state, which is 288.
- In November, as Sharad Pawar’s NCP, Congress and the Shiv Sena tried to work out an alliance, Ajit Pawar had turned against his party and joined forces with the BJP to capture power in the state. But his coup attempt failed, with most MLAs opting to stay with Sharad Pawar.
- But Sharad Pawar had virtually blamed the Congress, indicating that the party’s delay in making up its mind regarding the alliance had forced his nephew to the BJP’s side.
- On November 28, Ajit Pawar had attended Uddhav Thackeray’s oath ceremony but was not sworn in. His uncle called it a “conscious decision”.
- Ajit Pawar has served as Deputy Chief Minister on two previous occasions, each time when a Congress-NCP alliance was in power.
- The Congress has also got the Speaker’s post — MLA from the Sakoli segment, Nana Patole, was elected unanimously on December 1.
- The Sena-NCP-Congress coalition, dubbed the Maha Vikas Aghadi, came to power after weeks of negotiations between the ideologically mismatched parties who came up with a common minimum agenda.