Uddhav Thackeray to take oath as Maharashtra CM tomorrow

Uddhav Thackeray meets Maharashtra governor, stakes claim to form Sena-NCP-Cong govt
Shiv Sena party chief Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai, Tuesday. Photo: Vishnu V Nair/Manorama

Mumbai: The Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine on Tuesday evening elected Uddhav Thackeray as its nominee for Maharashtra chief minister's post, following which the Sena president met the governor and staked claim to form government of the "Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi".

Thackeray was accompanied by legislature party leaders of the three parties as he headed for Raj Bhavan to meet governor B K Koshyari, a Sena leader said.

"We are submitting a joint statement of staking claim for government formation. We will also produce proof of the support of all the MLAs of the three parties to the governor as part of the mandatory procedure," said the leader.

The Governor has accepted the claim and announced that Thackeray will be sworn-in as Chief Minister on 5pm on November 28 (Thursday) at Shivaji Park.

A high-level delegation including NCP leader Praful Patel, NCP state chief Jayant Patil, Congress state President Balasaheb Thorat, Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, Samajwadi Party state President Abu Asim Azmi and other leaders of the Maha Vikas Aghadi met the Governor and submitted a letter from Thackeray, support letters of all alliance partners, and other documents, to the Governor.

Uddhav Thackeray meets Maharashtra governor, stakes claim to form Sena-NCP-Cong govt
Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray (C) with NCP chief Sharad Pawar (L) and Maharashtra Congress president Balasaheb Thorat during the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance meeting in Mumbai, Tuesday. Photo: PTI

The three parties held a joint meeting at a suburban hotel where Thackeray was picked as leader of the unlikely alliance.

Thackeray, who would be the first member of his family to occupy the top political post in the state, said his government will not be vindictive.

"I will go to Delhi to meet my `elder brother' after the government is formed," he said, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had called him "my younger brother" during campaign rallies.

Hours earlier, four-day-old BJP government led by Devendra Fadnavis and supported by NCP's Ajit Pawar had collapsed.

At the meeting, Maharashtra NCP chief Jayant Patil proposed Thackeray's name as "the (next) chief minister". State Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat seconded the proposal.

The meeting was attended by Sharad Pawar, senior party leader Praful Patel, Congress leader Ashok Chavan, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana's Raju Shetti, Samajwadi Party's Abu Azmi, MLAs of all these parties, and others.

Speaking at the meeting, Thackeray evoked memories of his father, late Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray.

He also thanked Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

"I want to thank Sonia ji also. Parties with different ideologies have come together...those who were friends for 30 years, did not trust us. But those against whom we fought for 30 years have trusted me," Thackeray said.

Common people should think of this government as their own, he said.

"The fight is not personal...my government will not work in a vindictive way," Thackeray said.

Uddhav Thackeray meets Maharashtra governor, stakes claim to form Sena-NCP-Cong govt
Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray (C) with NCP Chief Sharav Pawar (R) and Sena MLA Aaditya Thackeray (L).

Without naming the former ally BJP with whom the Sena had a bitter falling out after contesting the October 21 assembly elections together, Thackeray said he would not align with those who speak lies, apparently referring to the BJP's claim that it had never agreed to share CM's post with Sena.

Speaking on the occasion, Pawar eulogised Bal Thackeray, his bitter adversary in politics but a dear friend in personal life.

The three parties named their alliance as 'Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi'.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Fadnavis resigned, barely 80 hours after taking oath for the second time, a move triggered by his deputy Ajit Pawar's resignation citing "personal reasons".

Fadnavis was sworn in on November 23 in an early morning hush-hush ceremony, with the support of Ajit Pawar, who then headed the 54-member NCP legislature party.

Ajit was not seen at the joint meeting of the three parties on Tuesday evening.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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