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Thursday, December 02, 2021

Maharashtra: Uddhav will take charge today, NCP gets Deputy CM, Congress Speaker

All senior leaders of Congress, including Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi, Congress CMs, have been invited.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: November 28, 2019 9:10:05 am
Maharashtra: Uddhav will take charge today, NCP gets Deputy CM, Congress Speaker Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai on Wednesday. (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran)

As their party workers and authorities readied Shivaji Park in Dadar for Thursday’s inaugural of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray as Chief Minister of Maharashtra, leaders of the Sena, NCP and Congress got down to business Wednesday evening, distributing berths and portfolios for the incoming government.

Follow Maharashtra swearing-in ceremony LIVE updates here.

While Thackeray will be Chief Minister for the full-term, six others will be sworn in with him. NCP leader Praful Patel said it has been decided that the Assembly Speaker will be from the Congress and the Deputy Speaker from NCP. The lone Deputy Chief Minister will be from NCP.

Former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan is the frontrunner for the Speaker’s post. From the NCP, Jayant Patil is tipped to be Dy CM but there is also a demand from the party rank and file that Ajit Pawar — he is back in the party fold after the collapse of the Devendra Fadnavis government which he had shored up — be named to the post.

Also Read | Maharashtra: Fate of bullet train, Aarey car shed uncertain

“Two people from each party will take oath as ministers tomorrow. The Assembly session for the trust vote will have to be called before December 3. The cabinet expansion will happen after that,” Patel said after a meeting of senior leaders of the three parties.

Those likely to be inducted as cabinet minister from the Sena are Eknath Shinde and Diwakar Raote; from the NCP, Chhagan Bhujbal or Dilip Walse Patil; and, from the Congress Ashok Chavan and Balasaheb Thorat.

The Congress, it is learnt, has given up its claim to a Deputy Chief Minister’s post after being assured that the Speaker will be from the party.

Also Read | Did not rebel, party to decide my role: Ajit Pawar

The entire top brass of the three parties including Uddhav Thackeray, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Congress’s Ahmed Patel and Mallikarjun Kharge held discussions for over four hours on the allotment of cabinet portfolios, future appointments to state-run corporations and MLCs.

In the House of 288 members, the BJP has 105, Shiv Sena (56), NCP (54), Congress (44). The remaining 29 represent smaller parties and independents.

Around 80,000 people are expected at the swearing-in ceremony of Thackeray, the first from the family to hold the top job in Maharashtra. The ceremony will start at 6.40 pm Thursday.

Also Read | New Maharashtra govt’s challenge: Farmers in drought-prone Vidarbha reel, this time from excess rain

Leaders of the Sena, Congress and NCP said attempts are on to put up a show of unity of non-BJP parties at Shivaji Park. All senior leaders of Congress, including Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi, Congress CMs, have been invited. Aaditya Thackeray was in Delhi Wednesday where he met Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh. Uddhav Thackeray has also invited PM Narendra Modi and MNS chief Raj Thackeray.

Leaders from other parties such as TDP’s Chandrababu Naidu, JD(S)’s H D Deve Gowda, TMC’s Mamata Banerjee, SP’s Mulayam Singh Yadav, BSP’s Mayawati have also been invited.

Also Read | Our party made political blunders, thinking of taking up Sena offer: BJP’s Khadse

“More than 40,000 chairs will be placed at Shivaji Park for the swearing-in ceremony. Arrangements are being made for 800 dignitaries who will come from across the state and country. Around 800 farmers from across the state will also be there and separate arrangements are being made for them,” said Pratap Sarnaik, Sena legislator from Thane.

Shivaji Park holds special significance for the Sena as it was founded there in 1966. Balasaheb Thackeray used to address party workers at Shivaji Park every Dussehra. In November 2012, Balasaheb was cremated at Shivaji Park. Now, a memorial to the Sena founder will also find place in Dadar.

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