Uddhav Thackeray Takes Oath as Maharashtra CM as Month-long Thriller Ends, 6 Ministers Sworn In
Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray greets his supporters after taking oath as Maharashtra chief minister on Thursday. (PTI)
Eknath Shinde, Subhash Desai (both Shiv Sena), Jayant Patil, Chhagan Bhujbal (both NCP), and Nitin Raut and Balasaheb Thorat (both Congress) were the others sworn in as ministers.
New Delhi: Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray was on Thursday sworn in as Maharashtra chief minister, heading an unlikely alliance with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
The 59-year-old is the third Sena leader, and the first from the Thackeray family, to occupy the post. His father Bal Thackeray wielded the 'remote control' over the first Sena-BJP government during 1995-1999, but never assumed a position in the government.
Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari administered oath to the saffron-clad Thackeray and six ministers at the sprawling Shivaji Park here, venue of the Sena's Dussehra rallies.
Those present at the ceremony included NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, senior Congress leaders Ahmed Patel and Mallikarjun Kharge, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray, and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader MK Stalin.
Former Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, his cousin and MP Supriya Sule, Uddhav's wife Rashmi and his MLA son Aaditya were also present at the ceremony, which was also attended by at least six former chief ministers of the state.
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi was among those invited, but she did not attend the ceremony. She sent congratulatory messages to Thackeray and Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief Balasaheb Thorat, who was among the six ministers sworn in.
Eknath Shinde, Subhash Desai (both Shiv Sena), Jayant Patil, Chhagan Bhujbal (both NCP), and Nitin Raut of the Congress were the others sworn in as ministers.
"Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress have come together under quite extraordinary circumstances at a time when the country faces unprecedented threats from the BJP," Gandhi's letter said.
In a letter to Thorat, Gandhi expressed confidence that the Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena combine will provide a stable and responsive government.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Thackeray on taking oath as the CM of Maharashtra. "I am confident he will work diligently for the bright future of Maharashtra," Modi said in a tweet.
Union minister Rajnath Singh, former prime minister HD Deve Gowda and Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Akhilesh Yadav were among those who congratulated Thackeray.
Thackeray took oath as chief minister over a month after results of the October 21 Maharashtra Assembly elections were declared on October 24. After the ceremony, along with his wife and son Aaditya, Thackeray offered prayers at the famous Siddhivinayak Temple.
The 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 BJP emerged as the single largest party winning 105 seats. The Sena, NCP and Congress won 56, 54 and 44 seats respectively in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly.
Thursday's ceremony came after days of dramatic political developments, which included a three-day government formed by the BJP's Devendra Fadnavis with unexpected support from NCP leader Ajit Pawar, who has since returned to the Sharad Pawar-led party fold.
There was speculation that Ajit Pawar would be sworn in as deputy chief minister on Thursday, but only two ministers from the NCP took oath.
A special session of the 14th state Assembly was held in Mumbai on Wednesday where oath was administered to the 285 newly-elected members by pro tem Speaker Kalidas Kolambkar appointed to the post by Koshyari.
Thackeray became the 18th chief minister of Maharashtra. However, considering the number of terms, he will be the 29th chief minister of the state.
An ace photographer, the otherwise affable, mild-mannered politician, displayed combative traits of his father in dealing with the BJP on the demand for rotational chief ministership just after the Assembly poll results were announced.
In rallies, Uddhav had repeatedly voiced his resolve to fulfil the dream of his father to make a Shiv Sainik the chief minister, and ended up donning the mantle himself.
Hours before the ceremony, the Sena-NCP-Congress alliance said the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state would waive farmers' loans and ensure 80% quota in jobs to the local youth.
NCP leaders Jayant Patil and Nawab Malik and Sena leader Eknath Shinde announced details of the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) of the alliance. The Sena's most discussed promise during the Assembly poll campaign -- a full meal at Rs 10 -- also figures in the CMP.
Subsidised clinics and canteens, and free education for girls from poor families are some of the promises made in the CMP.
(With inputs from agencies)