Mumbai: Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray took oath as the 18th chief minister of Maharashtra on Thursday putting an end to the month-long political drama which ensued in the state after the assembly results were declared on October 24.
Thackeray, 59, is the third Sena leader after Manohar Joshi and Narayan Rane to occupy the top post. He's however, first member of the Thackeray family to become the Chief Minister.
Governor B.S. Koshyari administered the oath of office and secrecy to Uddhav Thackeray who sported a striking saffron coloured kurta-pyjama, the Sena party's colour.
In an unusual gesture, soon after completing the formalities, Uddhav Thackeray stepped to the front of the stage and knelt down, touched his hands and head on the floor to express his gratitude to the people of Maharashtra for the honour bestowed on him.
Sena's Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai, NCP's Chhagan Bhujbal and Jayant Patil, and Congress leaders Balasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut are the other ministers who took oath at the grand ceremony held at Shivaji maidan in Mumbai. The portfolios of the ministers have not been announced.
Though Ajit Pawar was present for the ceremony, he did not take oath. Sources reveal that the NCP leader still has chances to win the Deputy CM post despite his rebellion against the party and its chief Sharad Pawar, and futile attempt to form a government with the BJP.
Among the prominent dignitaries present on the occasion were more than 500 farmers and farm widows from all over Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackery's cousin and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena President Raj Thackeray, industrialist Mukesh Ambani, his wife Nita Ambani and their family members.
Also present were at least three Chief Ministers from other states and six former Maharashtra Chief Ministers, including Sharad Pawar, Sushilkumar Shinde, Manohar Joshi, Prithviraj Chavan, Ashok Chavan and Devendra Fadnavis.
Other prominent personalities from all the three parties included Abhishek M. Singhvi, Rajiv Shukla, Praful Patel, Kishore Tiwari, Supriya Sule-Pawar, Sanjay Raut, Arvind Sawant, Rohit Pawar, and Rashmi Thackeray and Aditya Thackeray, the wife and son of Uddhav Thackeray.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to congratulate Uddhav. 'I am confident he will work diligently for the bright future of Maharashtra,' he tweeted.
Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul gandhi were notable for their absence. Sonia Gandhi however, sent a congratulatory note to the Chief Minister to mark the occassion. "Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress have come together under quite extraordinary circumstances at a time when the country faces unprecedented threats from the BJP," Gandhi's letter said.
Deputy CM post for NCP, Speaker from Congress
The NCP will get deputy chief minister's post in the new Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government, NCP leader Praful Patel said in Mumbai on Wednesday.
The Congress will get Assembly Speaker's post while the NCP will get deputy Speaker's post, Patel told reporters after a meeting of the the 'Maha Vikas Aghadi' of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress.
He also said that alongwith Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, who will be sworn in as chief minister on Thursday evening, one or two members of each of the three parties will take oath as ministers.
There will be only one deputy CM's post in the government, he added.
Earlier, sources had said that both the Shiv Sena and NCP will have 15 ministerial berths each, while the Congress will get 13 berths.
Maharashtra can have a maximum of 43 ministers as the size of council of ministers can not exceed 15 per cent of the total number of MLAs, which is 288 in the state. The Shiv Sena has 56 MLAs, NCP 54 and Congress 44.
Leaders of the Maha Vikas Aghadi met on Wednesday at the Y B Chavan Centre in south Mumbai.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Uddhav Thackeray and Congress veteran Ahmed Patel were among the leaders who held talks over council of ministers and the swearing-in ceremony, to be held at the Shivaji Park in Dadar on Thursday evening.
Congress general secretary in-charge for Maharashtra Mallikarjun Kharge joined the leaders later.
BJP-Shiv Sena fallout
Thackeray takes oath more than a month after results of the Maharashtra Assembly elections were declared. The weeks following the results saw political equations in the state turning topsy-turvy.
Soon after the results came in, Thackeray reminded the ally BJP of its promise to share the CM's post. But BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis denied that such a promise had been made.
An enraged Thackeray called off government formation talks, saying he could not tolerate being dubbed liar.
The falling apart of the saffron combine led to formation of an unlikely alliance between the Sena on one hand and ideologically divergent Congress and Nationalist Congress Party on the other.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar - seen as architect of the new alliance - himself has been chief minister of Maharashtra four times. He became CM for the first time on July 18, 1978, when he toppled the Congress government to form new government under the Progressive Democratic Front alliance.
This government lasted till February 17, 1980, when then prime minister Indira Gandhi dissolved it.
Pawar was again CM from June 25, 1988, to March 3, 1990 after he returned to the Congress.
His third tenure lasted from March 4, 1990, to June 25, 1991, when he joined the Narasimha Rao cabinet as defence minister. He was sent back to the state after Mumbai riots, and was CM from March 6, 1993, to March 13, 1995.
Late Vasantdada Patil of the Congress was chief minister four times - From April 19, 1977, to March 6, 1978; March 7 to July 17, 1978 (when Pawar toppled his government; February 2, 1983, to March 9, 1985, and again from March 10 1985, to June 1, 1985.
The first chief minister of Maharashtra after its formation in 1960 was Yashwantrao Chavan. He held the post from May 1, 1960, to November 20, 1962, when he was appointed defence minister in the aftermath of war with China.
Marotrao Kannamwar was the second chief minister, from November 21, 1962, till his death on November 24, 1963. P B Sawant was acting chief minister from November 25 to December 4, 1963.
Vasantrao Naik held the post from December 5, 1963, to February 20, 1975.No other chief minister enjoyed such a continuous tenure of 11 years.
Shankarrao Chavan was chief minister from February 21, 1975, to April 16, 1977. He became CM again on March 14, 1986 and remained in the post till June 24, 1988.
A R Antulay was chief minister from June 9, 1980, to January 12, 1982. Antulay, the only Muslim CM of the state so far, had to step down over corruption charges. Babasaheb Bhosale was chief minister from January 20, 1982, to February 1, 1983. Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar was chief minister from June 3, 1985, to March 7, 1986.
Sudhakarrao Naik was chief minister from June 25, 1991, to February 23, 1993.
Manohar Joshi was chief minister from March 14, 1995, to January 30, 1999.
Narayan Rane became chief minister on February 1, 1999 when Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray decided to replace Joshi. Rane remained in the post till October 17, 1999, when the Sena-BJP government decided to advance assembly elections.
Vilasrao Deshmukh took over as CM leading a Congress- NCP alliance government on October 18, 1999 and continued till January 18, 2003. He returned as chief minister on November 1, 2004, but resigned on December 7, 2008, after the 26/11 terror attacks.
Sushilkumar Shinde was chief minister from January 18, 2003, to October 31, 2004.
Ashok Chavan took over from Deshmukh on December 8, 2008. His first term lasted till November 6, 2009. He continued as chief minister after Assembly polls, but resigned in November 2010 over Adarsh Housing Society scam.
Prithviraj Chavan was chief minister from November 10, 2010, to September 27, 2014.
Devendra Fadnavis, the first BJP chief minister of the state, has two records against his name.
He became the first CM of Maharashtra after Vasantrao Naik to complete a full term, from October 31, 2014, to November 9, 2019.
However, he also earned the dubious distinction of being chief minister with the shortest tenure in his second term. He took oath on November 23, 2019, but resigned on November 26 when the Supreme Court ordered a floor test.
It became clear on Tuesday that NCP's Ajit Pawar, who had crossed over to prop up BJP-led government and was sworn in as deputy CM, could not split the NCP to get the numbers.
In terms of number of terms, Thackeray will be the 28th chief minister of the state.
(With PTI and IANS inputs.)