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CONGRESS ARM TWISTS NCP FOR HOME DEPT

The Congress has not only forced its alliance partner Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to compromise on seats, but has also sought an assurance that, this time, its chief minister will retain the home ministry. In the last government, the NCP, in a clever bargain, had conceded the chief minister’s post but had extracted six more cabinet posts from the Congress. A senior AICC general secretary, on condition of anonymity, said that apart from the division of seats, it is important to correct the power equations within the Democratic Front government. Earlier, chief minister Ashok Chavan had said that the home ministry should be held by the chief minister as is the general practice in all the states across the country. Former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh had also often expressed concerns over the coalition restrictions, as any effort on his part to overrule cabinet decisions ended up amounting to interference in the home portfolio held by the NCP minister. The department of home was held by RR Patil until 26/11. He stepped down after the terror strikes to pave way for Jayant Patil.

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