Mumbai: Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Thursday administered the oath of office and secrecy to Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, 59, as the 18th Chief Minister of the western state, ending 35 days of political uncertainty due to shifting political equations and bargaining.
Along with Thackeray, two SS ministers (Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai), two NCP ministers (Jayant Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal), and two Congress ministers (Balasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut) also took oath.
Tipped to be the Deputy Chief Minister, however, NCP leader Ajit Pawar did not take oath along with Thackeray. He is likely to be inducted later. Similarly, former Congress CM Ashok Chavan, also speculated as Deputy CM, also did not take oath, indicating ongoing tussle between the three parties for sharing power.
The third partner, Congress, is expected to get the post of Speaker in the Assembly. Its President Sonia Gandhi declined to attend.
The three-party combine has claimed the support of 170 MLAs. The Shiv Sena has 56 legislators, followed by NCP (54) and the Congress (44). They also claim support of some other smaller parties and Independents. The Thackeray Government is expected to prove its majority on the floor of the House on December 3.
At a glittering ceremony and amid presence of hundreds of people and dignitaries at Shivaji Maidan, nerve-centre of the Sena’s political career, the Governor swore-in the new CM and his ministerial colleagues of the new alliance, replacing the BJP-Sena alliance in the state’s political firmament.
Among those present on the occasion included former BJP CM Devendra Fadnavis, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, DMK President Stalin, Rajya Sabha MP Ahmed Patel, MP CM Kamal Nath and MNS chief Raj Thackeray. Reliance Industries Ltd CMD Mukesh Ambani and his family members were also present.
Between 1947 and 1956, BG Kher and Morarji Desai helmed Maharashtra as the first two CMs. Their successor, Y B Chavan, served as the third CM from 1957 to 1962, during which the state was reorganized on linguistic basis. Thereafter, Vasant Rao Patil and Sharad Pawar served as CM for two and three terms, respectively.