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Cong-NCP end tussle in Maha
Published on 6 Nov. 2009 1:58 AM IST
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The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) finally broke their deadlock over power sharing in Maharashtra Thursday, paving the way for swearing-in of the new government by the weekend - more than a fortnigt after the assembly poll results were declared. As per the formula worked out, the Congress will get 22 ministers plus the chief minister as compared to the NCP’s 20, said NCP spokesman D.P. Tripathi in New Delhi. “The NCP will retain home, finance and power portfolios while negotiations are continuing on some of the other portfolios,” Tripathi told IANS Thursday evening. NCP leader Praful Patel said Thursday night in Mumbai that a letter of the Democratic Front of the Congress and the NCP to form the government would be submitted to Maharashtra Governor S.C. Jamir Friday and the swearing-in ceremony is likely to be held Saturday. Briefing mediapersons, Patel, the union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, said that there were no differences now between the Congress-NCP over power sharing. “There were some adjustments and the matter is resolved now. The swearing-in ceremony will be held simultaneously for the entire team,” Patel said. The other critical departments on which the two parties remain stuck include rural development, agriculture, public works, and the post of speaker. Thursday evening, the Congress also completed its final crucial meeting at 10, Janpath - the residence of Congress President Sonia Gandhi. Emerging from the meeting, senior Congress leader and Defence Minister A.K. Antony told mediapersons, “Our negotiations are over, we have settled everything. The details are being worked out, we shall tell you tomorrow.” The development comes 14 days after the assembly results were declared (Oct 22), in which the Congress emerged as the largest party in the 288-member house, securing 82 seats, the NCP came next with 62. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) got 46 seats, the Shiv Sena 44, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena 13 and remaining went to Independents and smaller parties. The Comunist Party of India-Marxist could get only one seat. In the previous ministry, the Congress had 19 ministers while the NCP had 23. This was because the NCP had 71 seats compared to the Congress’ 69 in ther assembly. However, since the Congress was keen to keep the post of the chief minister, it agreed to give four extra portfolios to the NCP. Thursday’s development came two days after Governor S.C. Jamir summoned Chavan and deputy-chief minister-designate Chhagan Bhujbal over the delay in forming the new government. On Wednesday, the state opposition had met Jamir and demanded imposition of president’s rule in the state following “inordinate” delay on the part of the Congress-NCP in forming the government. The governor also chided the warring Congress-NCP over the issue. He urged them to respect the peoples’ mandate and form the government at the earliest. The NCP at one point even threatened to offer only outside support to the new government if the Congress did not go by the 1999 formula of power sharing. The issue of government formation has been pending for the last 14 days and on Wednesday Governor S C Jamir asked the coalition partners Congress and NCP to honour the mandate of the people. The delay has crippled the state machinery, already running slow for two months now because of the election code of conduct. The Maharashtra election results were declared on October 22 in which the Congress-NCP was voted back to power for a third consecutive term but deadlock continued between the two coalition partners for the allocation of portfolios with NCP asking Congress to stick to the 1999 formula.

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