Marathon talks among Maharashtra allies about portfolio allocation amid grudges of resentment

MUMBAI: Amidst murmurs of resentment over the distribution of ministries among the partners of the Shiv Sena, The and Maharashtra alliance, the leaders of the three parties held marathon meetings on Wednesday to finalize the allocation of portfolios.

The cabinet was expanded on Monday with the induction of 36 ministers, which brought its strength to 43, including Prime Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

The leaders held several rounds of talks with Uddhav Thackeray during the day, sources said.

The assignment of the ministries has almost been completed. All problems have been resolved. The assignment is expected to be announced tomorrow, a source said.

The guardian ministers of the district and the disposition of the ministers at the cabinet meetings were finalized on Wednesday, they said.

Ashok Chavan, Balasaheb Thorat, Vijay Wadettiwar and Nitin Raut of Congress, Jayant Patil and Ajit Pawar of the NCP and Eknath Shinde of the Shiv Sena met with Thackeray to discuss the assignment of ministries.

According to Congress sources, the party is upset because it was not granted any of the ministries that influence rural areas, such as agriculture and cooperation.

We can exchange wallets with two other parties. We are not demanding an increase in the number of ministries, the sources added.

All three parties face discontent from leaders who were not included in the cabinet.

Among these MLA are the Sangram Thopte of Congress, whose supporters shattered the office of the Pune Congress on Tuesday, and Prakash Solanke of the NCP. Both parties alleged that they had been placated.

Tanaji Sawant of Shiv Sena is also unhappy about having been ignored in the cabinet expansion, sources said.

Bhaskar Jadhav, who had joined the Seine on the eve of the assembly polls, said party chief Uddhav Thackeray had made certain commitments to him, so he hoped he would be appointed minister and the exclusion left him shocked.

It is said that about a dozen Sena legislators are upset about not taking place in the cabinet.

On the other hand, the 12 congressional ministers visited Delhi after the inauguration on Monday.

Congressional leaders, the sources said, feel that the party has no ministries of agriculture, cooperation, housing and rural development that deal with the rural areas of the state.

Rural development, cooperation and housing are with the PNC and agriculture with Shiv Sena, and Congress is interested in obtaining at least two of these four departments.

The Congress has been assigned income, PCD and energy, among other ministries.

The PCN has 12 cabinet ministers and four state ministers, Shiv Sena has 10 cabinet ministers and four MoS, while Congress has 10 cabinet ministers and two MoS.

The PNC has accumulated important housing and finance portfolios.

There are no differences in portfolio allocation: Jayant Patil

Meanwhile, Maharashtra cabinet minister Jayant Patil said there were no differences between allies Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress on the allocation of portfolios.

Patil, who heads the state unit of the Nationalist Congress Party, was talking to reporters in Mantralaya, the state secretariat here.

There are no differences between us, Patil told reporters when asked about reports of friction among the allies about the portfolio allocation.