Nephew is back from pavilion, son pads up

Mumbai: Senior leader and NCP chief Sharad Pawar's nephew Ajit Pawar, Shiv Sena youth leader Aaditya Thackeray and 34 others on Monday took the oath of office and secrecy at the swearing in function held at Vidhan Bhavan.

Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari administered oath to the new ministers in the presence of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. 

Pawar was sworn in as deputy chief minister for the second time in one month and seven days after he had joined hands with the BJP. Pawar had resigned as he could not muster adequate support within the NCP to remain in saddle with the BJP. 

After a rebellion against Pawar senior and NCP that proved a fiasco, Ajit had returned to party fold. The NCP chief had then assured Pawar deputy chief ministership, in view of the strong demand from party legislators.

Thackeray junior, who was elected from the Worli assembly seat for the first time, was sworn in as a cabinet minister, and is expected to lend a helping hand to his father in the government functioning. 

Aaditya is the first member from his family to taste electoral success. This is also for the first time a father and son will be present in the Maharashtra cabinet.

With the induction of 36 ministers, the Thackeray-led cabinet's strength has touched 43. Of the 36 ministers, 26 took oath as cabinet ministers, including Pawar as DCM and Thackeray junior; there will be 10 ministers of state.

Uddhav said he will announce the portfolios in a day or two. Thackeray, along with six ministers, two each from the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress, had taken oath on November 28.

Of the 43 ministers, 10 are from the politically crucial western Maharashtra, 8 from Vidarbha, 7 each from Mumbai, Marathwada and North Maharashtra, and four from Thane and Konkan.

However, there is no representation for 12 districts, including Palghar, Sindhudurg, Solapur, Dhule, Parbhani, Hingoli, Washim, Akola, Wardha, Gondia, Bhandara and Gadchiroli.

Shiv Sena cabinet ministers who took oath included  Anil Parab, Uday Samant, Sanjay Rathod, Gulabrao Patil, Dada Bhuse, Sandipan Bhumre and Shankar Gadakh (an independent) apart from Aditya Thackeray. 

The saffron party has opted to give representation to various sections and regions. Shiv Sena's ministers of state comprise Abdul Sattar, Shambhuraj Desai, Rajendra Yedravkar (an independent) and Bacchu Kadu (also an independent). 

On the other hand, the NCP had a combination of heavyweights and new faces and its list of cabinet ministers included Dilip Wales Patil, Dhananjay Munde, Anil Deshmukh, Hassan Mushrif, Rajendra Shingne, Nawab Malik, Rajesh Tope, Balasaheb Patil and Jitendra Awhad, in addition to Ajit Pawar.

The NCP has given a chance to Datta Barne (Dhangar), Aditi Tatkare (Hindu Gavli), Sanjay Bansode (scheduled caste) and Prajakt Tanpure (Maratha) as ministers of state. Tatkare, Tanpure and Bansode are first timers.

In the case of the Congress, the party, after a nod from the high command, cleared its list of cabinet ministers comprising Ashok Chavan, Vijay Vadettiwar, Varsha Gaikwad, Sunil Kedar, Amit Deshmukh, Yashomati Thakur, Aslam Shaikh and K.C. Padvi. The grand old party, in a bid to revive its base and to checkmate BJP in Vidarbha, has inducted Vadettiwar, Kedar, Thakur and Nitin Raut.

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