The newly formed alliance of the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress in Maharashtra have promised to uphold secular values in the state, ANI reported. The alliance announced its common minimum programme on Thursday evening, assuring immediate loan waivers to farmers who suffered due to floods this year.
Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray is set to take oath as chief minister at 6.40 pm on Thursday, along with six ministers – two each from the three parties, which call their alliance “Maha Vikas Aghadi”.
“The alliance partners commit to uphold the secular values enshrined in the Constitution,” the parties said. “On contentious issue of national importance as well as of state importance especially having repercussions/consequences on the secular fabric of the nation, the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress will take a joint view after holding consultations and arriving at a consensus.”
The preamble of the common minimum programme uses the word “secular” two times, which was initially opposed by the Shiv Sena as it is not a part of its ideology, according to News18.
Besides immediate loan waivers to farmers, the parties vowed to revise the crop insurance scheme to ensure that farmers who lost their crops get immediate compensation. “Adequate steps shall be initiated for the construction of sustainable water supply system for the drought affected areas,” they added.
The alliance also promised to focus on unemployment, women’s safety, education, urban development, health and industry. The alliance said it will begin to fill all vacant posts in the state government, and provide fellowships for educated unemployed youngsters. “A law shall be enacted to ensure 80% reservation in jobs for local/domicile youth,” the parties added.
Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, while announcing the common minimum programme at a press conference in Mumbai, said the government will do its best for farmers, according to ANI. “This will be a strong government,” he said.
The Nanar Refinery Project and the proposed bullet train project will be taken up in the coalition’s Cabinet meeting, Shinde added. The first meeting is expected to take place later on Thursday. The government will have two panels for coordination, one within the Cabinet and another among the coalition partners.
Invitations for the swearing-in have been sent to politicians across party lines, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Sonia Gandhi. The new Shiv Sena-led government will have only one deputy chief minister from the Nationalist Congress Party, while the Assembly Speaker will be from the Congress.
The political imbroglio 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 top 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. The next day, the court ordered a floor test before 5 pm on Wednesday.
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.