Jostling for portfolios.

Maha cabinet stalls over power play between allies; Pawar turns to Shah

Gridlock on plum portfolios; Pawar wants key slots; Shinde, Fadnavis refuse

Prashun Bhaumik | Mumbai/Pune | 13 July, 2023 | 11:10 PM

The much-awaited expansion of the Maharashtra cabinet continues to be shrouded in suspense, more than ten days after Ajit Pawar, a rebel leader from the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), took oath as the deputy Chief Minister. The delay primarily stems from an ongoing deadlock between the ruling allies: the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the rebel NCP faction. Pawar is insisting on plum portfolios — including Irrigation, Energy, Rural Development, Finance, and Excise, among others — for himself and eight of his NCP ministers, while the Chief Minister, Shinde, and his BJP deputy, Devendra Fadnavis, reiterate their stance of not giving away certain portfolios.