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Pawar mum on whether Ajit Pawar would be made Deputy CM

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Mumbai, Dec 22: NCP chief Sharad Pawar kept mum on whether senior party leader and his nephew Ajit Pawar would become deputy chief minister in the Maha Vikas Aghadi in Maharashtra.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray would soon take decision on cabinet expansion, Pawar said at a press conference here.

Pawar mum on whether Ajit Pawar would be made Deputy CM

Asked about Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut's reported statement that Ajit Pawar would become deputy CM in the Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP government in the state when the cabinet is expanded, the NCP chief refused to make any clarification.

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    "I have read Raut's statement. But I am the president of my party, so I know who will take oath in the expansion," he said cryptically.

    The state Anti-Corruption Bureau reiterated before the High Court on Friday that it found no evidence against Ajit Pawar in an alleged irrigation scam.

    Amid a deadlock over government formation after Assembly elections, Ajit had sprung a surprise and joined BJP-led government as deputy chief minister last month, but the government lasted for only 80 hours.

    When asked if it was taking longer than usual for cabinet expansion, Sharad Pawar replied in negative.

    "We are running an alliance government and we have already made allotment of portfolios. The chief minister may announce expansion afterthe winter session of Assembly (which ended on Saturday)," he said.

    Asked about MNS chief Raj Thackeray's comment that coming together of Sena, Congress and NCP for forming government was betrayal of voters, Pawar said the government was only 15 days old, and it would not be fair to make such criticism at this point.

    Maharashtra: Uddhav Thackeray's cabinet expansion likely before Christmas

    "We should allow the government to function. When (Sena leader) Manohar Joshi became chief minister, as leader of opposition I told him we will not criticise his government for at least one year," the NCP chief reminisced.

    Pawar also confirmed that he met disgruntled BJP leader Eknath Khadse in Nagpur, but refused to divulge what transpired in the meeting.

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