'New M'rashtra govt in 48 hrs'

Both Congress, NCP hanker after ministries of rural development & tribal welfare

'New M'rashtra govt in 48 hrs'


Chavan said the differences between the two parties had been narrowed down to just a few ministries and would certainly be sorted out in a day or two. There are indications that the swearing-in of the chief minister as well as other ministers will take place either on Thursday or by Friday, the latest.

Earlier in the day, a BJP-Shiv Sena delegation met the governor and sought the imposition of President's Rule in the state as the ruling coalition was unable to form a government even 13 days after the results of the Assembly elections were declared.
“The governor informed the delegation that he had told the caretaker chief minister Ashok Chavan and NCP leaders Chhagan Bhujbal and R R Patil that since the electorate of Maharashtra had given them a fresh mandate, it was their responsibility to respect the mandate and form a government without any further delay,” a Raj Bhawan spokesperson said.

The Opposition delegation told the governor that there was no sign of a government being sworn in. The ruling alliance partners are "haggling over plum portfolios, thereby delaying government formation”,  Sena leader in the Assembly, Subhash Desai, told reporters at the Raj Bhawan.

The BJP floor leader in the Assembly, Eknath Khadse, who is likely to be elected as the leader of Opposition, said the tenure of the 11th Assembly expired on Tuesday and the Congress and the NCP “are still squabbling over portfolios”, despite having got the mandate to rule.

The differences between the Congress and the NCP appear to be on two low-profile ministries of rural development and tribal welfare, which are currently with the NCP, but which the Congress is eyeing. These two ministries have huge budgetary allocations and have led the NCP to spread its wings in the tribal belt as well as consolidate its position in certain rural belts, so feel many Congress leaders.
Besides, the Congress also wants the home and power portfolios, which are also with the NCP.

On the other hand, the NCP wants the two partners to stick to the 1999 formula of power-sharing, by which the chief ministership goes to the Congress while the NCP retains important portfolios, irrespective of the numbers each party commands in the Assembly.

Meanwhile, NCP leader and civil aviation minister Praful Patel said in Bangalore that the differences between the two parties would be resolved "in a day or two."

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