Uddhav takes over as new CM of secular Aghadi
Bringing an end to fierce post-polls political one-upmanship in state and after the quick fall of BJP-led coalition regime with one NCP rebel within days, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of the state.
Amid criticism that Sena has been forced to give up a number of pro-Hindutva issues including Ram Mandir at Ayodhya, Uddhav Thackeray arrived at the grand show in a saffron Kurta. Uddhav will be the ‘first Thackeray’ to occupy any elected office and the third Sena Chief Minister after Manohar Joshi and Narayan Rane.
He will be heading a supposed to be secular ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ coalition government of Sena, NCP led by Sharad Pawar and of the Congress party. Governor B S Koshyari, who came under attack lately for swearing-in BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis, administered the oath of office and secrecy to the new Chief Minister and six of his cabinet colleagues.
Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul gave the grand occasion a miss though in separate letters they congratulated Uddhav. Sena leaders and trusted aides of Uddhav – Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai, NCP leaders Jayant Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal and Congress leaders Balasaheb Bhausaheb Thorat and Nitin Kashinath Raut were also sworn in as the Ministers at a grand function at the historic Shivaji Park in central Mumbai.
In attendance were DMK chief M K Stalin and Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Kamal Nath and NCP stalwart Sharad Pawar. The NCP chief and former state Chief Minister Pawar is credited for being the ‘Chanakya’ of the occasion as it has been his salutary efforts that contributed immensely to take out Sena out of the NDA combine and stitch alliance with Congress and NCP.
“We will see how far their 3-wheeler cart go. Only Sharad Pawarji is keeping this unnatural alliance together,” said BJP leader Poonam Mahajan. Taking a leaf out of his father’s life and mannerism, Uddhav bowed down and kept his forehead on the stage seeking blessings from the crowd. At the end of the swearing-in ceremony, a beaming 59-year-old Uddhav Thackeray shook hands with his wife Rashmi and walked into the arms of his newly elected legislator son Aditya.
The outgoing Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tweeted to compliment Uddhav Thackeray on his new role and extended him ‘shubechha (good wishes)’.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also wasted no time in congratulating the new Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
“Congratulations to Uddhav Thackeray Ji on taking oath as the CM of Maharashtra,” Prime Minister tweeted within minutes the grand swearing-in ceremony at the Shivaji Park in Mumbai ended. “I am confident he (Mr Uddhav) will work diligently for the bright future of Maharashtra,” Mr Modi wrote on the microblogging site.
Celebratory mood prevailed at the Shivaji Park where Sena founder Late Bal Thackeray had addressed a massive rally in 1966 marking the launch of Shiv Sena as a political party. Ironically, Mr Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena had contested the keenly fought assembly elections in October with BJP as its alliance partner.
But the partners fell apart after BJP rejected Sena contention that there was a broad agreement prior to parliamentary polls that the post of Chief Ministership would be shared on a rotation basis for two-and-half years.
In a dramatic development and late-night saga, Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as the Chief Minister along with NCP leader Ajit Pawar but the alliance fell as it could not muster the requisite numbers.
Now Uddhav Thackeray has been asked to prove his majority in the floor of the state assembly by December 3.
BJP spokesman Gaurav Bhatia said despite the mandate for BJP and Sena, Uddhav Thackeray-led outfit has taken a U-turn.
6 former CMs attend Thackeray’s swearing-in
Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray’s swearing-in ceremony as state Chief Minister saw six of his predecessors from the state gracing the event held at the Shivaji Park here on Thursday evening. NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi, Congress leaders Sushilkumar Shinde, Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan and BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis are the six former CMs who headed the state at different times and were present at the mega event.
Thackeray succeeded Fadnavis (2014-2019). Pawar has headed the state four times, while Ashok Chavan and Fadnavis became chief ministers twice. Joshi, Shinde, Prithviraj Chavan and Fadnavis held the post once.
Interestingly, among all the six former CMs, only Fadnavis, the first BJP leader to hold the top post in the state, completed full five-year term.
Thackeray became the state’s 18th Chief Minister and 29th term wise. He is also the first chief minister from the Thackeray clan. The Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress formed the government after the Thackeray-led party fell out with pre-poll ally BJP over sharing the chief ministerial post. The Assembly election was held on October 21 and its result was declared on October 24.