Maharashtra: Uddhav Thackeray Takes Charge

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, 59, was sworn in as the 19th chief minister of Maharashtra at a glittering ceremony at Mumbai’s Shivaji Park in the presence of several leading politicians from the national opposition. Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari administered the oath of office and secrecy to Thackeray and six others, two each from the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress. Six out of 18 former CMs were present on the occasion.

Addressing his first news conference as chief minister after the first Cabinet meeting, Thackeray said he would not allow a feeling of terror to prevail in the state. He said his government had cleared ₹20 crore for conservation of Shivaji’s forts in Raigad. He said major sops for farmers were being readied. “We don’t want to give some meagre sop. We want to give a package that would make the farmer happy. Till date, whatever schemes have been rolled out farmers have been only cheated,” he said.

The ministers sworn in with Thackeray were Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai from Sena, Jayant Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal from NCP and Balasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut from Congress. There were indications that portfolios of the new ministers may be announced in a couple of days as the three parties finalise their powersharing talks. Ajit Pawar was not sworn in. He had said earlier in the day that the issue of deputy CM was not settled yet and he would not take oath on Thursday.

Those who attended the ceremony included NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Congress leaders Ahmed Patel and Kapil Sibal, Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel, former Maharashtra CMs Devendra Fadnavis, Ashok Chavan, Prithviraj Chavan, Sushil Shinde and Manohar Joshi, DMK chief MK Stalin, MNS chief Raj Thackeray, former Gujarat CM Shankarsinh Vaghela and NCP leaders Ajit Pawar, Supriya Sule and Praful Patel. Industrialist Mukesh Ambani and family too were present.

Farmers from drought hit regions, the Koli community, considered original inhabitants of Mumbai, the Warkari community (worshippers of Vithoba, believed to be a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu) and Naypadma Sagar Maharaj, a Jain Muni, along with Jain sadhvis were also present. The presence of so many figures from the opposition signified the coming together of parties with diverse ideologies against BJP.

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