- NCP is likely to get the home, finance, irrigation, housing ministries
- The post of the deputy Chief Minister also belongs to the NCP
- NCP's Anil Deshmukh may get the crucial home portfolio
Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party -- which played a key role in bringing together the ideologically disparate Shiv Sena and the Congress and helped government formation in Maharashtra -- is set to emerge as the biggest winner with most of the state's key cabinet berths. The party is expected to get the home, finance, irrigation and housing ministries. The post of the deputy Chief Minister also belongs to the party. In terms of numbers too, they have the edge over the Shiv Sena, with 16 berths compared to the Sena's 15.
Sources said more names have emerged in course of the ongoing discussions of portfolios.
The NCP's Anil Deshmukh, sources said, will get the crucial home portfolio, urban development will go to Shiv Sena's Eknath Shinde, Industries to Sena's Subhash Desai, Revenue to Congress's Balasaheb Thorat, Labour and Excise to NCP's Dilip Walse Patil, Housing to NCP's Jeetendra Ahwad and Medical Education to Congress's Varsha Gaikwad.
NCP's Dhananjay Munde is likely to get the Ministry of Social Justice. Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar is expected to get the plum finance portfolio, the sources said.
It is not known yet which portfolios Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray would handle, apart from the General Administration department.
The Congress is getting the least number of berths and ministries as it is the smallest party in the alliance in terms of the number of MLAs. The party won 44 of the state's 288 seats, against Shiv Sena's 56 and NCP's 54 seats.
The key revenue portfolio has been earmarked for its state chief Balasaheb Thorat, PWD for former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Medical Education for Varsha Gaikwad, but there rest are yet to be decided.
With Revenue department in the bag, the party is angling for agriculture, which Sena is unlikely to concede. The party is likely to get the power department as well, sources said.
Sources said the delay in finalisation and announcement of porfolios is mainly due to the difficulty of assigning districts to individual ministers for special care.
Called "guardian ministers" , this is a practice singular to Maharashtra and allows the minister to wield influence in terms of projects that are awarded to the district.
Guardian Ministers are appointed to look after the development plans and related affairs of each district. The minister is seen as the go-to person for all issues relating to the district.