Ashok Chavan wants veterans, Young Turks in cabinet

Mumbai: Former chief minister Ashok Chavan has asserted that Congress needs to consider a combination of veterans and young, experienced leaders for induction into the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray-led cabinet in Maharashtra. Chavan along with former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan is quite keen to join the council of ministers.

Chavan said inclusion of party leaders with administrative experience is a necessity as Congress will not lag behind in the decision-making process. Chavan’s statement is crucial as the party faces a huge challenge in accommodating aspirants in the 12 ministerial positions during power sharing with Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party.

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The party's state president Balasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut have already been sworn in on November 28. Now, senior leaders and

Young Turks alike are lobbying for ministerial berths. Chavan himself had held crucial portfolios such as revenue, industry and urban development earlier.

He had to resign as the CM in November 2010 in the wake of Aadarsh Housing society scam. He was defeated in the Lok Sabha elections but was elected from the Bhokar assembly constituency.

Furthermore, Prithviraj Chavan who could not become the state assembly speaker following NCP’s strong opposition, has not been averse to joining the Thackeray-led cabinet.

He was one of the senior leaders, who after the fractured mandate, had said if a concrete proposal comes from the Shiv Sena, the Congress party would consider it and discuss it with the high command.

Besides the Chavan duo, names of former ministers Varsha Gaikwad, Amit Deshmukh, Ranjit Kamble, senior legislators Yashomati Thakur, Praniti Shinde, Amin Patel, Aslam Sheikh and the young aspirants including Vishwajeet Kadam, Kunal Patel and Sangram Thopte are doing the rounds for ministerial position.

Meanwhile, Ashok Chavan insisted that the Maha Vikas Aghadi government should function by strictly adhering to the common minimum programme.

He hinted that the Congress party is free to take its own decision in the event of any violation. Congress is happy that the alliance partners, especially Shiv Sena, are committed to uphold the secular values enshrined in the Constitution.

Meanwhile, Chavan clarified that there was no rift among Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance partners on the allocation of portfolios. The government is functioning well and CM Thackeray has been holding cabinet meetings. He, however, admitted that talks are on for finalising portfolio allocations.