Uddhav Thackeray takes oath as CM amid huge gathering in Shivaji Park
In a landmark event in the history of coalition politics in the State, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra after the formation of a Sena-NCP-Congress combine’s “Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi” (MVA) in front of a mammoth gathering at the historic Shivaji Park in Mumbai on Thursday at 6.45 pm.
Apart from Uddhav, six others — two each from the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress — were sworn in as Ministers in the Uddhav Thackeray Cabinet at the colourful ceremony held at “Shiv Thirth” — better known as Shivaji Park — a venue with which the Sena and Thackerays have an emotional attachment.
Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari administered the oath of office and secrecy to Uddhav and six MVA Ministers — Eknath Shinde, Subhash Desai (both from the Shiv Sena), Jayant Patil, Chhagan Bhujbal (both from the NCP), Balasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut (both from the Congress).
Fifty-nine-year-old Uddhav, who is incidentally the first-ever Thackeray to become the Chief Minister in the 53-year-long history of the Shiv Sena, took the name of the Maratha warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji, his late father Balasaheb Thackeray and mother Meenatai, before taking oath of office and secrecy.
After taking oath, Uddhav — in a gesture of humility —bent down on the stage, touched his hands and head on the floor and expressed his gratitude to the people of Maharashtra for the honour bestowed on him.
Nearly one lakh people had turned up for the swearing-in ceremony at Shivaji Park. Seating arrangements had been made for 70,000 people on the ground, while nearly 300 VIPs and guests sat at the stage.
Several prominent leaders belonging to different political parties had attended the swearing-in ceremony. They included Sharad Pawar, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, DMK chief MK Stalin and party leader TR Baalu, Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Malikarjuna Kharge, NCP leader Praful Patel, BJP leader and former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, former Chief Ministers and senior Congress leaders Sushil Kumar Shinde, Prithviraj Chavan, Ashok Chavan, Union Minister Ramdas Athawale and former Chief Minister Manohar Joshi.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray, who is the cousin of Uddhav, made it to the event along with his son and mother. He sat on the stage during the swearing-in ceremony.
NCP MP Supriya Sule, who was seen prominently at the event, was seen greeting the guests at the function.
NCP’s senior Minister Ajit Pawar, who had created a major stir in the State political circles by joining hands with the BJP to form a Government and later returned to the parent party, had arrived at the venue along with Supriya and Sharad Pawar’s grand nephew and newly elected MLA Rohit Pawar. Also present was Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut, who played a key role in the Sena stitching an alliance with the NCP and the Congress.
Reliance Group chief Mukesh Ambani, his wife Nita Ambani and their family too were present on the occasion.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Uddhav on his taking over as the Chief Minister. “Congratulations to Uddhav Thackeray Ji on taking oath as the CM of Maharashtra. I am confident he will work diligently for the bright future of Maharashtra,” Modi tweeted.
AICC’s interim president Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whose party is a constituent of the new MVA Government and to whom Uddhav had extended personal invitation through his MLA -son Aditya — Sonia congratulated the new Chief Minister through separate letters. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also congratulated Uddhav on his taking over as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
Congratulating Uddhav, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat for coming together and forming the Government in Maharashtra, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she is looking forward to a “pro-people and stable Government” that would work for the all round development of Maharashtra under their leadership.
“Congratulations to @OfficeofUT , @PawarSpeaks and @bb_thorat for forming the government in Maharashtra,” she tweeted. “Under your diligent leadership and firm commitment, we look forward to the State having a pro- people, stable Government that works for all round development,” she added.
Ninety minutes after he and six Ministers were into office, Uddhav chaired the first State Cabinet meeting at the State-run Sahydri Guest House at Malbar Hills in south Mumbai.
At the meeting, they are understood to have discussed the date for holding a special Assembly session where Uddhav would seek confidence vote on the floor of the House. The Governor, while inviting Uddhav to form the MVA Government in the State, has given time till December 3 to prove its majority. Thursday’s Government formation was limited to the swearing-in of Uddhav and six Ministers. Uddhav plans to expand his Cabinet after he proves his majority on the floor of the Assembly on or before December 3.
Though it was expected that NCP’s deputy chief minister would be sworn in on Thursday, no one from the NCP was administered oath as the DCM at the ceremony. Informed party sources attributed the NCP’s decision not to swear in anyone as Deputy Chief Minister on Thursday to the fact that no consensus had been reached on whether Ajit Pawar be assigned the DCM’s post, especially after the controversy over his extending his support to the BJP and becoming a Deputy Chief Minister in the Devendra Fadnavis Government which collapsed after the NCP leader resigned from the post and returned to the parent on Tuesday.
Friday, 29 November 2019 | TN RAGHUNATHA | Mumbai
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