NCP's Bhujbal is Maharashtra deputy CM

MUMBAI: The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)\'s Chhagan Bhujbal has been appointed the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra for the third time, a top party leader announced. Party observe

Published: 26th October 2009 07:34 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 12:08 AM   |  A+A-


File photo: Express

MUMBAI: The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)'s Chhagan Bhujbal has been appointed the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra for the third time, a top party leader announced.

Party observer and Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel announced Bhujbal's selection as the NCP Legislature Party leader and deputy chief minister at a press conference here Monday evening.

Bhujbal pipped two strong contenders to the coveted post - state party chief R.R. Patil and strongman Ajit Pawar, nephew of NCP leader Sharad Pawar.

Since the past few days, Ajit Pawar was considered a frontrunner for the plum post, but he lost out almost at the last minute. Incidentally, he was not present at the announcement here Monday evening.

Downplaying the absence, Patel said the proposal to elect Bhujbal was cleared unanimously by the party.

Earlier Monday afternoon, a meeting of the 63 newly-elected state legislators passed a resolution, authorising party chief Sharad Pawar to take the final call on the issue.

The aggressive former Shiv Sainik, Bhujbal was the state deputy chief minister from October 1999-December 2003.

He was re-appointed Dec 04, 2008, for a second term to the post, but minus the home portfolio.

The deputy chief minister's post was created out of political compulsions as the traditional single-party rule gave way to the era of coalition politics ibn Maharashtra, and to achieve a power balance of sorts among the alliance partners Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

The first deputy chief minister of the state, for barely five months, was Nasikrao K. Tirpude from March 1978-July 1978.

Later, the post remained vacant and was revived after six years with the flamboyant lawyer-turned-politician Ramrao Adik, who was the deputy chief minister from February 1983-March 1985.

Since after the saffron combine of Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (SS-BJP) came to power, the post has virtually become permanent. With Shiv Sena's Manohar Joshi as the chief minister then, the BJP's Gopinath Munde occupied it from March 1995-October 1999.

When the Congress-NCP came to power in October 1999, the next in line was the NCP's Bhujbal. He was replaced by NCP's soft-spoken Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil from December 2003 to October 2004.

Then came the appointment of the mild-mannered Raosaheb Ramrao Patil from November 2004 to December 2008 before he owned up moral responsibility for the Nov 26 Mumbai terror attacks and resigned. He was later named the NCP state chief.

Again, in December 2008, Chhagan Bhujbal returned as deputy chief minister for a second term, but without the home portfolio.


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