Legislators of the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress on Tuesday elected Uddhav Thackeray as their nominee for the chief minister’s post in Maharashtra. The Shiv Sena president will be sworn in on Thursday, November 28, the newly-formed alliance said.
Thackeray was chosen as the nominee for the post at a meeting of the MLAs of all the three parties at a hotel in Mumbai. The parties, which call their alliance “Maha Vikas Aghadi”, have claimed that 162 MLAs are on their side.
The development came a few hours after Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis resigned as the Maharashtra chief minister, and rebel Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar quit as his deputy. The Supreme Court had earlier in the day ordered a floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly on Wednesday, ruling that there would be no secret ballot and the proceedings would be telecast live.
“I had never dreamed of leading the state,” Thackeray said after being chosen as the chief ministerial nominee. “I would like to thank [Congress President] Sonia Gandhi and others. We are giving a new direction to the country by keeping faith in each other.”
Thackeray, the son of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray, will be the first person from his family to become the chief minister of the state.
“I accept the responsibility given by all of you,” Thackeray told the MLAs. He said that the Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress alliance would “wipe the tears” of the farmers in the state. “We will make this Maharashtra once again that Maharashtra which Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj dreamed of,” Thackeray added.
The MLAs of the Maha Vikas Aghadi staked claim to form the government on Tuesday night itself, PTI reported.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told reporters after the meeting that the Maha Vikas Aghadi will invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to attend Thackeray’s oath-taking ceremony, ANI reported.
The political situation in Maharashtra
Despite having just 105 MLAs following the Maharashtra Assembly elections, Fadnavis’s BJP was able to form a government early on Saturday, purportedly with support from 54 MLAs of Ajit Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party. However, hours after Ajit Pawar sided with the BJP, his own party said it did not endorse his action and would go ahead with another alliance it had been negotiating for two weeks – with the Shiv Sena and the Congress.
The Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress had then moved the Supreme Court against the state governor’s decision to invite Fadnavis to form government. Gradually, most NCP MLAs who had appeared to back Ajit Pawar returned to their official party fold. On Monday evening, the three parties got all their MLAs to assemble in a hotel room for a show of strength, and claimed they were 162 in number – well over the majority mark.