New Delhi: The already-delayed expansion of the Maharashtra cabinet is now likely to be delayed further to December 30, with Ajit Pawar likely to return as deputy Chief Minister, news agency PTI has reported quoting a senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader.

According to reports, amid talks of cabinet expansion, Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Monday met NCP chief Sharad Pawar, widely credited as the architect of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in the state. Congress is the third constituent of this alliance.

No leader of the Congress was present at the meeting, the PTI report further stated, further quoting the NCP leader as saying that the cabinet expansion is likely to happen on December 30, with Ajit Pawar expected to take oath as deputy Chief Minister.

Ajit Pawar, a former deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, had last month rebelled against his uncle Sharad Pawar by joining hands with the BJP, albeit for what turned out to be just an 80-hour stint. He was later ‘forgiven’ and welcomed back into the NCP fold.

The MVA was formed after the BJP and the Sena, allies for nearly three decades, went their separate ways despite winning a clear majority in the Maharashtra Assembly Election in October, after the former snubbed the latter’s demand to share the Chief Minister’s chair for 2.5 years each. This prompted the Sena to enter talks and eventually form a coalition government with the NCP-Congress combine, with its chief Uddhav Thackeray becoming the Chief Minister.

The oath-taking ceremony of the alliance took place on November 28, with two ministers from each party taking oath along with the Chief Minister. Portfolio allocation, however, took place nearly two weeks after the government’s swearing-in