New Delhi, Nov 28 : The Congress nominee in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition government included Nitin Raut, a close aide of Rahul Gandhi, which indicated that the former party chief had a say in the selection of party representatives to be sworn in as Ministers in the Uddhav Bal Thackeray-led government, sources said.
Raut was head of the AICC’s SC section and working president of the Maharashtra Congress.
Rahul and his team were initially averse to the party joining hands with the Shiv Sena, but agreed to back the Sena-led government after the common minimum programme (CMP) was finalised and all contentious issues were resolved.
Other Congress Minister, Balasahab Thorat, is Maratha. Raut belongs to the Scheduled Caste. The Congress had tried to strike a social balance, said a leader.
Along with Thackeray, two Ministers from each major MVA constituents have taken the oath of the office. As per the power-sharing agreement, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will get the Deputy Chief Minister and the Deputy Speaker’s posts. The Congress will get the Speaker’s post.
The Congress is pushing former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan for the Speaker’s post, but the NCP is reluctant on his name, according to top NCP sources. The NCP wanted a person who would take decisions as per need and not to dial the Congress central leadership, the sources said referring the former CM’s backing in New Delhi.
Before appointed as the Maharashtra Chief Minister, Chavan was a Minister in the Manmohan Singh government and was handling PMO and personnel departments.