Ahead of Uddhav Thackeray's swearing-in as Maharashtra's new Chief Minister, the Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)-Congress alliance has started finalising power-sharing details. Maharashtra will have just one deputy chief minister, from the NCP, and the Speaker's post will go to the Congress, NCP leader Praful Patel announced after a six-hour-long meeting of the alliance, also known as Maha Vikas Aghadi, on Wednesday evening.
"There will be only one deputy chief minister and that will be from the NCP," Mr Patel told reporters after the meeting. Reports had earlier suggested that Uddhav Thackeray will get two deputies, one each from the NCP and the Congress.
"How many ministers will take oath will be decided tonight. One or two MLAs from each party will take oath as ministers. Speaker has been decided by all three parties, Speaker will be from the Congress," he added.
Praful Patel said the media will be informed about the details of who will take oath this morning.
The alliance, along with smaller parties and independents, staked claim to power after the 80-hour Devendra Fadnavis government collapsed on Tuesday for want of a majority.
Earlier on Wednesday, Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat had said, "The ratio of portfolio-sharing will be finalised in next two days. The number of Cabinet and Minister of State (MoS) posts to be given to each party will also be finalised in next two days," making it clear that the three parties are in for intense negotiations and bargaining over the next few days.
Maharashtra's 43 ministries need to be divided between three parties and the ratio believed to be in discussion is 15 ministries for the Sena, 15 for the NCP and 12 for the Congress. But smaller parties like Swabhimani Sangathana and Samajwadi Party also need to be accommodated.
There is no agreement on who will get the big ministries - home, finance and revenue. Sources say the Congress has demanded the post of Speaker but sources say the Sena and NCP are not on board with that.
The alliance has reportedly agreed on a common minimum agenda that can help the Shiv Sena and the Congress, who have always been on opposite sides of the spectrum, work together.
Mr Thackeray will be sworn at 6:40 pm today at Shivaji Park in Dadar, the place where his party holds traditional Dussehra rally each year. Sources say the Shiv Sena chief, who has never contested an election, will become a member of the Legislative Council in the bicameral Maharashtra assembly.