Congress' Nitin Raut was among the six ministers who took oath as a minister in the Maharashtra cabinet yesterday along with Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, who was sworn-in as the state's Chief Minister. The six leaders - two each from Congress, Shiv Sena, and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) - took oath as ministers in Maharashtra's alliance government which goes by the name "Maha Vikas Aghadi".
The leaders who took oath include Nationalist Congress Party's Jayant Patil, Chhagan Bhujbal, Shiv Sena's Eknath Shinde, Subhash Desai and Congress' Balasaheb Thorat. They were administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at Shivaji Park in Mumbai.
Nitin Raut, a key leader of the Congress, is reportedly a close aide of Rahul Gandhi.
The 62-year-old leader is a four-term MLA and national chairman of the Congress' Scheduled Caste department. He is also one of the working presidents of the party in Maharashtra.
Mr Raut comes from Nagpur and represented Nagpur North constituency in 1999, 2004 and 2009 elections.
His earlier portfolios include animal husbandry, employment guarantee and water conservation departments.
The BJP and the Shiv Sena, which fought the last month's Assembly polls in an alliance, secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats, but the alliance broke after the BJP declined to share the chief minister's post.
The Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress then come together under the "Maha Vikas Aghadi" front to form the government in the state under the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray.
Hours before the swearing-in ceremony, the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance said the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state would waive farmers' loans. Shiv Sena's most discussed promise during the Assembly poll campaign -- a full meal at Rs 10 -- also figures in the Common Minimum Programme or CMP.