At Uddhav Thackeray’s grand oath event, friends, rivals and Ajit Pawar
A little after the sun went down over the Arabian Sea, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray rode a rainbow coalition with rivals - Congress and Nationalist Congress Party - to take over as Maharashtra chief minister at a grand ceremony at Shivaji Park in state capital Mumbai on Thursday.
The mega event - his party had attempted to turn it into a show of opposition unity - was attended by several leaders from other states including DMK’s MK Stalin and chief minister of Madhya Pradesh Kamal Nath and Congress’ Mallikarjun Kharge and Kapil Sibal.
Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee couldn’t make it but congratulated Thackeray and the alliance partners on Twitter moments after he was sworn-in. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also congratulated Uddhav. “I am confident he will work diligently for the bright future of Maharashtra,” he tweeted.
Watch: Uddhav Thackeray takes oath as Maharashtra CM, 6 others as ministers
Six ministers - Shiv Sena’s Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai, Nationalist Congress Party’s Jayant Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal, and Congress’ Balasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut - were also sworn in soon after Uddhav at the ceremony that was high on symbolism.
Wearing a saffron silk kurta, the Shiv Sena boss read out his oath in Marathi in the sprawling grounds that has been central to the politics of the party that his father Bal Thackeray had founded in 1966. Uddhav invoked Sena supremo late Bal Thackeray during his oath, NCP ministers party boss Sharad Pawar and Congress ministers party chief Sonia Gandhi.
His cousin Raj Thackeray, who split the Sena to form the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena after losing out in the battle to succeed Bal Thackeray, watched him from the first row. So did Devendra Fadnavis, who had made an unsuccessful attempt to block Uddhav from taking over as chief minister.
Ajit Pawar, the NCP leader who had helped Fadnavis in the exercise before dumping the BJP within 80 hours, was also present. Ajit Pawar wasn’t inducted into Thackeray’s team today but there is a buzz that he is back in the race for the NCP’s quota of one deputy chief minister in the alliance.
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