NCP walks off with key cabinet berths including home, finance, irrigation and housing ministries

Mumbai: Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has signed off on the list of 42 ministers on Sunday – six days after the second batch of 36 MLAs took oath. While Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will control law and order and the general administration departments, and his son Aaditya Thackeray will handle two portfolios – tourism and environment — it is Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party that has emerged as the biggest winner.
The NCP, which played a key role in bringing together the ideologically disparate Congress and the Sena and helped form government in the state, has got 16 ministries. The Sena got 15. The Congress, which got the smallest portion of assembly seats, has been given 10 ministerial berths, setting off protests from disgruntled leaders who didn’t get any.
Sharad Pawar’s party has walked off with the key cabinet berths including home, finance, irrigation and housing ministries, besides the plum post of the Deputy Chief Minister.
The NCP’s Anil Deshmukh got the crucial home portfolio, finance has gone to Deputy Chief minister Ajit Pawar, housing to Jitendra Ahwad and irrigation to Jayant Patil. Chaggan Bhujbal has got Food and civil supplies and consumer protection.
The Sena’s 15 portfolios include Industries, mining and Marathi language, who went to Subhash Desai, Urban Development, which has gone to Eknath Shinde and Transport and assembly affairs, with Anil Parab at its head.
The one crucial ministry the Congress bagged is revenue, which has gone to the party’s state chief Balasaheb Thorat. Former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has got the Public Works Department portfolio and Varsha Gaikwad, Medical Education.
The Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi coalition now has to deal with unhappy legislators who, failing to get a ministerial berth, have threatened to quit. One of them, Kailash Gorantyal, said he has already sent in his resignation to the state party chief.
“I have been elected for the third time. When there was split in Congress and NCP, I was elected. When there was Modi wave, even that time I got elected. Why this injustice being done to me?” Kailash Gorantyal told reporters.
Shiv Sena leader Abdul Sattar, who got a ministerial berth, has threatened to quit as he was not made a cabinet minister. He had quit Congress to join the Sena ahead of the elections.
The resignation threats have brought cheer to the BJP camp, whose coup attempt in November failed. Former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who took oath in a surprise ceremony at the Raj Bhawan, said it was the “beginning of the fall” of the alliance government.
“A month’s time was taken for the expansion of the ministry. Even after a week, they are unable to allot portfolios. And now even before portfolio allotment takes place, one minister has already resigned. This is the beginning of the fall of this government,” he said.
The Congress got the least number of ministries as it is the smallest party in the alliance in terms of the number of MLAs. The party won 44 of the state’s 288 seats, against Shiv Sena’s 56 and NCP’s 54 seats.