Chavan says Cong has the numbers

“Our strength is more now (than 1999). Aankde badal chuke hain. (The numbers game has changed),” Chavan told reporters here, hours after he was chosen by party president Sonia Gandhi to head the Congress Legislature Party in the state - and as the result be the chief minister.

In the 288-seat assembly, the ruling Congress-NCP bagged 144 seats - Congress 81 and NCP 63. In the previous assembly, the Congress had 69 and the NCP 71 members.
Specifically asked about the home ministry portfolio, which in the previous government was with the NCP, Chavan said, “This has not been discussed as yet. And I don’t think it is proper to talk to you (media) about it.”

Chavan said all formalities of government formation would be finalised with the NCP after it convenes its legislature party meeting. The NCP legislators will choose their leader Monday, and he will be made the deputy chief minister.

Smooth path

“The government formation will be smooth. I don’t see any hitches in it. We have been working in the coalition government and have good experience,” Chavan said when asked if he saw any trouble in negotiating portfolios with the NCP.

Asked if the Congress will take support of Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) to form the government, Chavan flatly said, “There is no question of taking the support of Raj Thackeray.”

Chavan skirted a question on the NCP merging with the Congress, as proposed by senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh.

“It is an internal matter of the NCP,” he said.

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