Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and Deputy Chief Minister Vijaysinh Mohite-Patils fate in office depends on the Congress nominee for the chief ministers post.
Mohite-Patil can breathe easy if the party decides to retain Sushilkumar Shinde as CM since neither party wants to disturb the caste-based power-sharing equation in the state.
While Mohite-Patil belongs to the politically dominant Maratha caste, Shinde hails from the politically aware Dalit community.
But if the Congress decides to replace Shinde with a Maratha leader like Patangrao Kadam or Vilasrao Deshmukh, then Mohite-Patil may as well kiss the deputy CMs post goodbye.
On the other hand, replacing Shinde with either Kadam or Deshmukh brightens up chances of former deputy CM Chhagan Bhujbal, thereby making way for his grand return to state politics.
Bhujbal, a gardener from the OBC, has been on a comeback trail after he successfully contested the Assembly elections and won from Yeola with a comfortable margin of over 35,000 votes.
That the Shinde-Mohite combination will be retained is a rumor. There will be a change and our saaheb will be made deputy CM again, no matter who becomes the CM. He campaigned hard for the party despite a tough challenge in his constituency from where he was contesting for the first time, claimed a Bhujbal supporter.
Bhujbals detractors in the NCP, however, insist that chances of him returning to the chair are remote.
At best, he will be made the state president of NCP. After Telgi, he should not raise his hopes, said a Bhujbal-baiter in the party.
Also, Shindes nomination as the CM still may not trigger an automatic selection of Mohite-Patil.
Sharad Pawar could still spring a surprise and nominate one of the younger leaders in the party to reward the performers.
There are no takers for the post of an Assembly speaker, which will come to the NCP in the power sharing arrangement.
The position has been vacant after the speaker of the last Assembly, Arun Gujarathi, lost the elections in Pachora. Babasaheb Kupekar, who emerged victorious from Gadhinglaj, is being tipped for the post.