Ashok Chavan was on Saturday sworn in as the 21st Chief Minister of Maharashtra with his 38-member council of ministers, ending the fortnight-long political logjam with coalition partner NCP over portfolio distribution that delayed government formation.
The two-tier government has 27 cabinet ministers and 11 ministers of state. While 18 ministers are from the Congress, Sharad Pawar-led NCP has 20.
Chavan, would-be deputy CM Chhagan Bhujbal and other ministers were administered the oath of office by Governor S C Jamir at Raj Bhawan lawn in Nagpur.
Ministers of state in the outgoing government Naseem Khan, Suresh Shetty and Hasan Mushrif were elevated to cabinet rank.
Former ministers R R Patil, Rajendra Darda, Laxmanrao Dhoble, Anil Deshmukh, Shivajirao Moghe and Jaidutt Kshirsagar have made a comeback as cabinet ministers.
Cabinet ministers in the outgoing ministry who have been dropped include Vijaysinh-Mohite Patil, Surupsinh Naik, Dilip Walse Patil, Anees Ahmed, Vimal Mundada, Chandrakant Handore, Nawab Malik, Vinay Kore, Rajendra Shingane, Raviseth Patil, Madan Patil, Rameshchandra Bang and Dilip Deshmukh.
Eleven ministers of state including two women Fauzia Khan of NCP, an MLC, and Varsha Gaikwad of Congress were also sworn in. Except Ranjit Kamble and Vijay Waddetiwar of Congress, all others--Bhaskar Jadhav, Prakash Solanki, Sachin Ahir, Gulabrao Devkar (all NCP), Padmakar Walvi, Abdul Sattar, Ramesh Bagwe (all Congress)--are new faces.
The installation of the new government was delayed as Congress and NCP had been locked in hard bargaining over sharing of key portfolios and number of ministerial berths for a fortnight.
While NCP had wanted the sharing of portfolios and berths on the basis of 1999 formula when the two parties formed a coalition government for the first time, Congress insisted on a new yardstick in view of changed political realites after the assembly poll this year which saw NCP's relegation as the number two in terms of number of seats secured.
However, the two parties wrapped up the power-sharing deal yesterday.