Maharashtra government formation: Nationalist Congress Party leader Jayant Patil is likely to take oath today as the deputy chief minister, 35 days after Maharashtra Assembly elections results were announced with the BJP emerging as the single largest party. He became the front runner for the post after Ajit Pawar’s removal as NCP’s legislative party leader, following his coup against party boss Sharad Pawar.

Patil, who won elections from Islampur, had replaced Ajit as the Assembly leader. Earlier, speculations were rife that Uddhav Thackeray-led new government will have two deputy chief ministers but were dismissed by NCP leader Praful Patel. The Maha Vikas Aghadi or the Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP post-poll alliance held a meeting on Wednesday and decided who will be Thackeray’s deputy.

The Speakers’ post will be given to Congress which won 44 seats in the 288-member House. The alliance has not divulged details of the number of ministerial berths. Reports suggest that Congress was pressing for equal distribution of ministerial berths since Shiv Sena was given the top post. The swearing-in ceremony of Thackeray will be held today at the Shivaji Park in Mumbai.

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Ajit, the nephew of NCP chief, is likely to be inducted in the Cabinet. Before joining hands with the BJP, he was the top contender for the deputy CM’s post. Though he returned to the party fold, he will not get the second major top post in the new government. When he turned up for the oath-taking ceremony of MLAs on Wednesday, he was welcomed by Supriya Sule with a hug. Supriya is the daughter of senior Pawar and cousin of junior Pawar. However, the Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP combine has not confirmed whether Patil and Ajit will get posts as mentioned above.

Meanwhile, Thackeray will become first from Maharashtra’s influential family to hold the top post. He had earlier stated that he had promised party founder Bal Thackeray that one day CM will form his party. The Shiv Sena had earlier pressed Aaditya Thackeray’s name for the top post when the party was in alliance with the BJP.

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