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AICC must sort portfolio row: Shiv Sena

The power sharing tussle and ministerial portfolios are still delaying the Uddhav Thackeray-led cabinet in Maharashtra. Apart from the demand for one more important portfolio, urban development, two major internal issues in the Congress are proving to be the speed breaker before the portfolio allocation.

ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jan 04, 2020, 07.42 AM IST
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New Delhi: The Shiv Sena leadership is learnt to have reached out to the Congress central leadership, seeking its intervention to sort out the problems among the Congress ministers over power sharing. This is mainly delaying the formal distribution of the ministerial portfolios of the Uddhav Thackeray cabinet.

Apart from the demand for one more important portfolio, urban development, two major internal issues in the Congress are proving to be the speed breaker before the portfolio allocation.

Firstly, sources said, there is a tussle between Balasaheb Thorat and Ashok Chavan, for the plum revenue ministry. According to the original agreement, the revenue ministry was earmarked for Thorat and the public works department portfolio for Chavan.

The second issue is about“guardian ministers”. Maharashtra has the tradition of every district getting a formally designated “guardian minister” who virtually functions as the overall in-charge of the allocated district.

With NCP chief Sharad Pawar deciding to make loyalist Anil Deshmukh a high-profile minister, he is also being designated as the “guardian minister” for his home district Nagpur. Congress minister Nitin Raut is learnt to be resisting this as he is also keen on becoming the guardian minister of the same district.

Since Nagpur houses the RSS headquarters and is the home pitch of both former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and senior Union minister Nitin Gadkari, NCP and Congress are keen to gain the ministerial steering wheel of this district.

It is also learnt that as per the informal ministerial allocation agreement, the NCP has been allotted the ‘guardian ministerships’ of most of the western Maharashtra districts, the political stronghold of Pawar and Congress is feeling completely left out in the region.

The Sena leadership is learnt to have pointed out to the Congress high command that the AICC/PCC representatives had been fully involved in the coalition discussions on portfolio sharing and, therefore, raising objections as an afterthought is delaying the distributionand gifting the BJP talking points.

Even as AICC is making efforts to sort out the issues at the earliest, a section of Sena and NCP too are pushing for early formal distribution of portfolios with or without Congress on board.

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