Maharashtra govt formation: Uddhav Thackeray set to become CM as Shiv Sena, NCP, Congress alliance moves closer

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Published: November 23, 2019 1:24:16 AM

In the Maharashtra House of 288 members, the BJP has 105, Shiv Sena 56, NCP 54 and Congress 44 MLAs. The Sena parted ways with the BJP after insisting on rotation of the CM post.

Uddhav Thackeray, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, Sena chief

Almost a month after Maharashtra’s fractured mandate in the Assembly elections that led to the imposition of President’s Rule on November 12, rivals NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena reached a consensus on Friday evening that Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will be the new chief minister of the state, heading a government of the alliance.

A formal announcement on government formation and the power-sharing agreement between the three parties is expected on Saturday.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar, emerging from a meeting of the three parties, said a consensus had been reached on Uddhav Thackeray for the top post. “As far as the chief minister’s post goes, there is consensus between the three parties that Uddhav Thackeray will lead the government,” Pawar said.

Talks on government formation gained momentum on Thursday after Congress president Sonia Gandhi showed the green light for an alliance with the NCP and Shiv Sena.

Thackeray, on his part, said talks to finalise other details were still on. “The meeting was constructive. Most things have been sorted out. There are, however, some discussions on minor issues. The way things are going, these issues will be sorted out too. We will come out with details soon,” he said.

In the Maharashtra House of 288 members, the BJP has 105, Shiv Sena 56, NCP 54 and Congress 44 MLAs. The Sena parted ways with the BJP after insisting on rotation of the CM post.

While the formal announcement of the new alliance is expected Friday, it is learnt that under the power sharing agreement, the Shiv Sena will get 16 portfolios — the Chief Minister’s post, 11 cabinet berths and five Ministers of State.

The NCP, with has two seats less than the Sena, has agreed to soften its demand for CM-by-rotation, at least for now. Sources said the NCP is likely to be offered 15 ministerial berths — 11 cabinet and five MoS. There is agreement, sources said, on letting the NCP take the key Home portfolio. It is also likely to be offered the cooperatives department.

The Congress is expected to be offered a total of 12 ministerial berths, including nine cabinet berths. Revenue, Rural Development and Energy are the portfolios that may go the Congress way, sources said.

The Shiv Sena is expected to keep Urban Development, Finance, Public Works Department, Health and Agriculture.

Sources said an understanding has also been reached on control over state-run corporations. The Congress and NCP will head equal number of corporations while the Shiv Sena will have two more, sources said.

Throughout Friday, intense deliberations were on within the parties. The joint Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena meet took place at Nehru Sports Complex in Worli and was attended, among others, by Uddhav Thackeray, Pawar and senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel.

In the morning, Thackeray had called a meeting of his party legislators at his residence Matoshree in Bandra (East). “All legislators demanded that he be the Chief Minister. We had already given him the power to decide on it,” said Pratap Sarnaik, Sena legislator from Thane.

Earlier in the day, Shiv Sena leader and MP Sanjay Raut told mediapersons that there would be Sena CM for five years. “There will be a Shiv Sena CM for five years and all three parties have agreed on it. If other parties are giving any offer now, the time is over for them. Maharashtra will get a strong government,” he said.

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