Mumbai: Prithviraj Chavan was on Thursday sworn in as the new chief minister of Maharashtra heading a 10-member cabinet of the Congress-NCP coalition that included nine ministers of ally NCP whose Ajit Pawar became his deputy but strangely none from his own party.
Apparently reflecting the pulls and pressures and factionalism within the Congress, no one from the party other than the former union minister was administered the oath, whereas all the nine sitting cabinet ministers of NCP including Pawar were sworn in.
Clad in a black bandhgala, Chavan (64), a technocrat- turned politician chosen by Congress president Sonia Gandhi for the CM post, was administered the oath of office and secrecy by governor K Sankaranarayanan as the 16th chief minister of the politically important state at a simple but impressive ceremony at Raj Bhavan.
NCP supremo Sharad Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar, 51, was sworn in as the new deputy chief minister.
Outgoing deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal, a prominent OBC leader, sulking after having to make way for Ajit Pawar, also took oath of office.
Portfolios will be allocated in the next few days, NCP sources said.
The NCP ministers who took oath apart from Pawar and Bhujbal were RR Patil, Ganesh Naik, Jayant Patil, Laxman Dhoble, Vijaykumar Gavit, Jaidutt Kshirsagar and Sunil Tatkare.
Outgoing CM Ashok Chavan, who was forced to quit over his alleged role in the Adarsh scam and union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, were also present. Prithviraj Chavan, a Maratha leader from western Maharashtra, had visited ‘Varsha’ the official residence of his predecessor in south Mumbai on Thursday morning.
Earlier in the day, Sharad Pawar held discussions with nephew Ajit Pawar in Delhi on the NCP team in the new ministry.
Soon after being sworn in, Chavan said his government’s topmost priority would be to make Maharashtra the state with most development in the country.
“My government will try to make Maharashtra the No. 1 developed state in the country, ” Chavan told reporters.
“Being entrusted with this job is a big honour for me. The party has entrusted me with the responsibilty and I will carry that out out ably,” Chavan said.
Ajit Pawar said “the party has given me a very big responsibilty and I will strive for a transparent administration.”
“I will give justice to all regions in the state,” Pawar said.