Within a week after Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government proved its majority in a floor test in Maharashtra Assembly, the Maha Vikas Aghadi has been forced to change its initial power-sharing formula, sources said. According to the sources, the power-sharing formula was renegotiated after Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar insisted on an additional Cabinet berth.
According to reports, NCP will now have 16 Cabinet ministers, one more than the Shiv Sena which has the maximum 56 MLAs. Earlier, it was decided that NCP and Shiv Sena will have 15 Cabinet berths each and Congress will get 12. As per the initial formula, the chief ministerial post was given to Shiv Sena for a full term, Congress got the post of Speaker and NCP got the deputy chief minister’s post.
The development comes a day after the NCP chief asserted that an alliance with the Shiv Sena was "not difficult", compared to a tie-up with the BJP, and said his nephew Ajit Pawar had rebelled against the party as he was "totally unhappy" with the way the talks were going on with the Congress in Maharashtra.
Seen as the architect of the alliance between the avowedly secular Congress-NCP and the Shiv Sena, an aggressive proponent of Hindutva for decades, Pawar said there was "perfect understanding" among the ideologically diverse allies and expressed confidence that the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government would complete its term.
Speaking about his talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief told a news channel that he conveyed to the PM that it would not be possible for his party to work with the BJP.
"For us, it was not difficult to work with the Sena as compared to the BJP. That was not the route we could have taken," he said.
Asked about Ajit Pawar's decision to join hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), before a lack of support from NCP MLAs forced him to return to his party, the senior Pawar said, "He (Ajit) came back from that discussion between us and the Congress and he was not very happy. He was totally unhappy. In that connection, he ultimately took that extreme decision."
In an early morning development on November 23, Devendra Fadnavis was sworn-in as the Maharashtra chief minister and Ajit Pawar as his deputy.
"But he (Ajit) realised that it was not the correct decision and that is why he came early morning the next day, saw me and just withdrew from all this," Pawar said.
He, however, added that his nephew had a sizeable following in the NCP, but declined to comment on whether Ajit Pawar would get the deputy chief minister's post in the new government in Maharashtra.
With PTI Inputs