MUMBAI: With more than a month after the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) faction led by Ajit Pawar signed up with the BJP and the Shiv Sena to form a 'triple engine' government in Maharashtra, there is friction in the three-party alliance over the issue of four district guardian minister posts.
The Ajit Pawar-led NCP is keen on taking over the guardian ministerships of four districts – Pune, Kolhapur, Nasik and Raigad — however, currently, all these districts are with the Shiv Sena faction led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and he has reportedly dug his heels in.
The formula for ministerial posts and district guardian posts was decided when Ajit Pawar signed up with the government on July 2. Team Pawar is hoping that the district guardian ministership of the four districts will be handed over to them. However, the final decision will be taken jointly by the CM and Deputy Chief Ministers Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar.
NCP’s believes its leaders are much senior to the Shiv Sainiks currently holding charge of district guardian minister. Its hotly debated as to whether it's appropriate for Dy.CM Ajit Pawar to play second string to Pune guardian minister Chandrakant Patil. Team NCP claims that it's inappropriate and boils down to a matter of respect.
In Kolhapur, though Shinde-led Deepak Kesarkar is the district guardian minister, NCP wants their senior leader Hassan Mushrif to get the post. While in Nasik, they would like Chhagan Bhujbal to replace Sena man Dada Bhuse and in Raigad albeit dicey, they want Aditi Thakre to takeover the helm from senior Uday Samant, a native of Ratnagiri.
Ajit Pawar has briefed Shinde and Fadnavis about the stand of his party and a decision is to be made before August 15. However, thus far, Team Shinde Sena refuses to budge.
In the interim on Thursday, the state government released a list of ministers who will be unfurling the tricolour on August 15. While Ajit Pawar will hoist the flag in Kolhapur, not Pune, Fadnavis will hoist the flag in Nagpur. Chandrakant Patil will hoist the flag in Pune.
Watch this space for an update.