Maharashtra Govt Formation LIVE: The month-long political drama in Maharashtra will culminate today with the swearing-in of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray as the 18th chief minister. Thackeray, 59, will be the third Sena leader after Manohar Joshi and Narayan Rane to occupy the top post. The momentous occasion comes after weeks of political wrangling in the state saw the Sena and its ally BJP break their 30-year-long ties over the chief minister’s post. This followed the coming together of the ideologically divergent Sena, Sharad Pawar’s NCP and the Congress.
Uddhav Thackeray will be sworn in at Shivaji Park, a traditional venue for events by the Shiv Sena, which includes founder Bal Thackeray’s iconic Dussehra rallies. In a first, Maharashtra will have a Thackeray chief minister. The October 20 election was also significant for the Sena as Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aaditya became the first from his family to contest a poll and win.
Leaders of the ‘Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi’ (MVA) — the front of the Sena-NCP-Congress combine — met on Wednesday as the process of forming the new council of ministers gathered momentum. NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Thackeray, and Congress veteran Ahmed Patel were among the leaders who held parleys over council of ministers and the swearing-in ceremony, to be held at the Shivaji Park in Dadar on Thursday evening. Congress general secretary in-charge for Maharashtra Mallikarjun Kharge joined the leaders later.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Praful Patel confirmed that the deputy chief minister of the alliance will be from his party and the speaker from the Congress. “There will be only one deputy chief minister and that will be from the NCP,” said Patel after attending a meeting of the MLAs of the three alliance partners in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray on Wednesday night met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and is understood to have invited her for his father’s swearing-in ceremony, which will take place at 6:40 pm at Shivaji Park in central Mumbai on Thursday. He also called upon senior Congress leader and former prime minister Manmohan Singh to extend the invitation. Despite the bitter break-up with the BJP, Uddhav Thackeray called Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday and invited him for the swearing-in ceremony.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal and DMK chief MK Stalin have also been invited for the ceremony. Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar said the chief ministers of Congress-ruled states have also been invited.
Apart from prominent political leaders, the Sena has also invited 400 farmers, including members of families of agriculturists who committed suicide, party MP Vinayak Raut said.