By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, Nov 29
Ending a month long political impasse, Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray, Shiv Sena party president, was sworn in as the 18th chief minister of Maharashtra at a colourful function organised at historic Shivaji Park in Central Mumbai late Thursday evening.
He became the third Shiv Sena chief minister, earlier Sena CMs being Manohar Joshi and Narayan Rane, who were in the saddle in the Shiv Sena-BJP Government between the period 1995-1999.
Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari administered the oath of office and secrecy to Thackeray. Six others -Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai(Shiv Sena), Jayant Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal (NCP) and Balasaheb Thorat and Dr Nitin Raut(Congress) were sworn in as ministers along with Thackeray. Except Bhujbal and Raut all others swore in the name of god. Thackeray, the first from the Thackeray family to hold official position will now lead the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress coalition government (Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA).
Before taking oath he paid obeisance to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s idol kept on the dias and also bowed before the people. Uddhav Thackeray, who is currently not a legislator, will have to get elected either to the legislative assembly or the council within six months of taking oath. Additionally, a floor test will be held in the Maharashtra Assembly by 3 December, for which the tripartite alliance will have to keep its flock of MLAs together.
As the Governor arrived at 6.35 PM he was greeted with blowing of “Tutari” (traditional musical instrument like trumpet which was used during Maratha regime). He was received by Thackeray and a standing ovation was given to him by unprecedented crowd that gathered at Shivaji Park. This was followed by a national anthem played by Mumbai police band.
The national level leaders who were present on the dias included many senior Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena leaders including: Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath, DMK’s M.K. Stalin, senior Congress leaders Kabil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and K C Venugopal, former Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, AICC spokesman Rajeev Shukla, NCP President Sharad Pawar and NCP MPs Praful Patel and Supriya Sule, former Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi (Shiv Sena), and Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut. Noted industrialist Mukesh Ambani and his wife Neeta Ambani , Uddhav’s wife Rashmi and his son, newly elected MLA Aditya Thackeray were also present.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, former PM and JD(S) patriarch HD Deve Gowda and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav congratulated the coalition (MVA) and Uddhav Thackeray either through tweeter or telephonically. Yadav in a tweet in Hindi said that BJP’s achhe din (good days) are over.
A host of Maharashtra leaders including former Congress chief ministers Prithviraj Chavan, and Ashok Chavan, former Shiv Sena MP Chandrakant Khaire, Uddhav’s estranged cousin and MNS Chief Raj Thackeray were present. Surprisingly NCP leader Ajit Pawar (Sharad Pawar’s nephew) who had revolted and sworn in as Deputy CM in the Devendra Fadnavis (BJP) on 23 November in covert early morning operation was also present. Fadnavis, and BJP leader who was later forced to resign on realising that he had inadequate support, and BJP’s Chandrakant Patil were also present.
The Shivaji Park witnessed a record number of people and activists who vied with each carrying flags of their party. In response to saffron flags of Shiv Sena, the NCP and Congress carried their flags with shade of tricolour. Even as the swearing in was going on, the activists and residents fighting to prevent a Metro car shed from being built at Aarey Colony in North Mumbai, to save the forest, were present at Shivaji Park, holding ‘Save Aarey’ banners.
Soon after Uddhav Thackeray was sworn in as the Maharashtra CM, Shiv Sena workers in Jammu celebrated the event by bursting crackers.
After the swearing in Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in a late night cabinet meeting announced that Rs 20 crore have been sanctioned for the reconstruction of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s capital in Raigad Fort in Konkan region. The project, which costs Rs 600 crore, was allotted only Rs 20 crore in the past, he added.
He also announced that the aid announced as relief to farmers will be reviewed and if need be a white paper will be published. Promising that the alliance will give Maharashtra a stable government, he said that he will check the reality of implementation of all state and Centre schemes aimed at helping farmers. “I don’t want just memorandums and announcements. I want to see the ground reality when it comes to farmers. The fact is that after the loan waiver, did not benefits many farmers. I want to see to it that the money comes to the farmers,” he added.
Responding to former CM Fadnavis’ criticism of the common minimum programme of the MVA, not having a mention of Marathwada, Vidarbha and North Maharashtra regions, Uddhav said that the Cabinet’s vision is for the entire state, not for a particular region. He also said that the government’ aim is to make Maharashtra the top state in the country.
Uddhav Thackeray, a 1976-batch student of Balmohan Vidyamandir school at Dadar in Central Mumbai is basically a photographer. Known for his passion for photography, he started out in the advertising field by setting up an agency called ’Chaurang’. He specialises in aerial and wildlife photography.
He has two photo books to his credit, ‘Maharashtra Desh’ (2010) on the forts of the state, and ‘Pahava Vitthal’ (2011) on the Pandharpur wari (on pilgrimage to the temple town of Pandharpur). ‘Maharashtra Desh’ is full of breathtaking aerial shots, providing a glimpse into the cultural fabric, physical beauty and historical perspective of this wondrous state. A few years ago, he had organised an exhibition of his photographs and donated Rs 10 lakh from collected from their sale for farmer causes.
Raju Vernekar is a Media Professional based in Mumbai and is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. He had served as Chief Reporter at Free Press Journal (1996 – 2015 ). His Activities includes writing for different news papers, script writing/production for TV channels, Films Division. Writing poems in Marathi, Hindi, English, Guiding mass media students and helping people to solve their problems. Raju may be contacted at [email protected]
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