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Maharashtra government to be sworn in tomorrow

The swearing in of the new Congress – NCP ministry in Maharashtra will take place tomorrow with the end of the fortnight-long deadlock over government formation in the state after the assembly elections brought the two parties to power for the third time in a row.

The Congress will have 23 ministers and NCP 20. While all NCP ministers are expected to take oath tomorrow, the Congress ministers would be sworn in two phases.

“We are going to form the new council of ministers tomorrow. We will be staking claim to form the government this evening,” said a beaming chief minister-elect Ashok Chavan after a meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Chavan evaded all questions on who will be included in the new ministry despite queries whether Rajendra Shekhawat, son of President Pratibha Patil, Mumbai regional Congress chief Kripa Shankar Singh and Maharashtra PCC chief Manikrao Thakre would be accommodated.

“I am not going to say who and how many will be taking oath tomorrow….Portfolios will be decided after swearing in,” was his refrain to all such queries.

Chavan said “this will be 2009 formula” when asked whether Congress has agreed to NCP’s demand for the continuation of 1999 formula of power sharing under which it had got key portfolios.

He, however, brushed aside questions like what ministries will be held by Congress and NCP, but made it clear that his party has not demanded either Rural Development or Tribal Welfare ministries as reported.

In the previous ministry, the Congress had 19 ministers while the NCP had 23. The NCP had secured 71 seats compared to the Congress’ 69.

Since the Congress was keen to keep the post of chief minister, it agreed to give extra portfolios to the NCP.

Friday’s development comes exactly 15 days after the Oct 13 assembly election results were declared on Oct 22.

The Congress emerged the largest party in the 288-member house, bagging 82 seats, the NCP came next with 62 seats.

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) got 46 seats, Shiv Sena 44, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena 13 and the rest went to independents and smaller parties.

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