The new Shiv Sena-led government in Maharashtra will have only one deputy chief minister, who will be from the Nationalist Congress Party, while the Assembly Speaker will be from the Congress, ANI reported. Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the alliance, NCP MP Praful Patel also said that the deputy Speaker will be from his party.
Patel said it will be decided by Wednesday night as to how many ministers will take oath with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday. Thackeray had on Tuesday been unanimously chosen as the chief ministerial nominee of the Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress alliance, which will be called the “Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi”.
Patel made the remarks after a six-hour meeting of leaders of the alliance in Mumbai to work out the modalities of the new government. Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Thackeray, Praful Patel and Congress leaders Ahmed Patel and Mallikarjun Kharge were among the leaders who held parleys.
The swearing-in ceremony of Thackeray is set to take place at 6.40 pm on Thursday at Shivaji Park in Mumbai.
“We have sorted all issues,” Ahmed Patel told reporters after the meeting, but did not reveal any details, PTI reported. Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Balasaheb Thorat also refused to divulge what had transpired at the meeting.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray, the son of Uddhav Thackeray and an MLA from Worli in Mumbai, visited Congress President Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi, sought Gandhi’s “blessings” and invited both for the oath-taking ceremony, ANI reported. Reports had earlier said that Gandhi would not be attending the ceremony.
The political churn in Maharashtra
The BJP had won 105 seats in the Maharashtra Assembly elections, the results of which were announced on October 24. The Shiv Sena, which was in an alliance with the BJP, won 56 seats. Despite having enough seats to form a government together, the two allies bickered over power-sharing – the chief minister’s post and Cabinet portfolios – resulting in the Shiv Sena starting negotiations with the ideologically different Congress and NCP instead.
With no outcome in sight then, the Centre imposed President’s Rule in Maharashtra on November 12. The Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP continued negotiations to form an alliance, and on Friday evening, Sharad Pawar announced that Uddhav Thackeray had been unanimously chosen to head the new government. Thus, the oath-taking ceremony of Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar early on Saturday came as a surprise.
The same day, the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress filed a petition in the Supreme Court against Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s decision to invite the BJP to form the government. On Sunday, the Supreme Court asked for the letters of support on the basis of which the governor took action. After these letters were submitted to the court on Monday, it reserved its verdict in the case, for Tuesday morning. On Tuesday, the court ordered a floor test before 5 pm the following day.
Hours after the Supreme Court verdict, Fadnavis resigned as the chief minister and Ajit Pawar as his deputy. Fadnavis conceded that the BJP had failed to form the government. Ajit Pawar confirmed on Wednesday that he was still with the Nationalist Congress Party.
Earlier on Wednesday, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut had claimed that people should not be surprised if his party comes to power in New Delhi also.