Ajit Pawar is Maharashtra deputy chief minister (Second Lead)

November 10th, 2010 - 8:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Nov 10 (IANS) Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar, nephew of party chief Sharad Pawar and a minister, was Wednesday named Maharashtra’s next deputy chief minister after Chhagan Bhujbal.

The NCP decision to appoint Pawar came hours after the Congress announced Prithviraj Chavan as the new chief minister of Maharashtra. The state is ruled by a Congress-NCP coalition.

“A meeting of the NCP legislators has unanimously elected (Ajit) Pawar as the new deputy chief minister,” senior party leader Praful Patel announced Wednesday evening.

Party general secretary D.P. Tripathi said the name of Pawar was proposed by Bhujbal and seconded by Home Minister R.R. Patil.

He said Pawar will meet Governor K. Sankaranarayanan Wednesday evening to offer a letter of support to the Chavan-led government.

The NCP leader said the swearing-in of the new chief minister and deputy chief minister was expected to take place Thursday evening.

Tripathi indicated that Bhujbal will continue as a minister in the government.

Asked if the party will retain the same team of ministers, Tripathi said there might be changes.

“We are coming to Delhi to meet party president Sharad Pawar. We will discuss with him,” Tripathi said.

NCP sources said that intense lobbying by Bhujbal to retain the number two slot in the government failed to work. Pawar managed to secure the support of around 50 NCP legislators plus a few independents.

They said a majority of legislators had supported Pawar even after the 2009 assembly polls but the party then decided to retain Bhujbal as deputy chief minister.

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