SENA IN SADDLE .. Uddhav Thackeray takes charge as CM; fresh rumblings in Sena, NCP


MUMBAI: There now is wheel within the wheel. As the Shivaji Park in Dadar here witnessed the swearing-in of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray as chief minister Thursday evening, rumblings have surfaced in the three-party alliance as also the BJP. For one, Ajit Pawar told the Maha Aghadi meeting on Thursday that he wants to be the Chief Minister for half of the coming five-year-term, if support has to be extended by the NCP to the chiefministership of  Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray. The Shiv Sena is not agreeable to this. 

Meanwhile, an OBC leader of the BJP in Maharashtra came out in an open criticism of the state BJP leadership — obviously targeting former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and the upper caste lobby he allegedly sought to promote.

Also, reports emerged that 15 Shiv Sena legislators have come forward to express their disagreement over the party breaking away from the NDA, and said this would affect their Hindutva cause. There is also haggling between the three parties over portfolios.

The NCP leader Praful Patel meanwhile announced that the party would get the deputy chief minister post under CM Uddhav Thackeray in the new government, while the assembly speaker post would go to the Congress.
Two names are taking the rounds for deputy CM post. One is of Ajit Pawar and the other is of Jayant Patil. Posters appeared in the Pawar family turf of Baramati, demanding that Ajit Pawar should be the CM of Maharashtra.

Ajit Pawar reportedly told the meeting that Sharad Pawar had promised him two days ago, for his return to the party, that the CM post could go to the Sena only for half the term, and the other half could be for the NCP.

The minister posts will be split between the Sena, the NCP and the Congress on 16-15-13 basis respectively. The swearing in slated for 6.15pm, at which Congress leader Sonia Gandhi is expected while Rahul Gandhi will stay away. While invitation had gone to West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee too, she would not attend in view of the Muslim sensitivities involved in the matter. 


There are rumblings in the BJP as well. A section of BJP leaders are irritated over the way the party leadership handled the matter, especially in relation to having a tie-up with “corrupt” Ajit Pawar, which anyway failed. The OBCs are openly expressing their misgivings over the state party functioned. One senior leader, Eknath Khadse, said he was considering an offer to side with the Shiv Sena. The OBCs had not got their due in ticket-distribution and this had affected the voting pattern for the BJP in the assembly polls. 


The swearing-in event at Shivaji Park was graced, among others, by industrialist Mukesh Ambani and his wife Nita and their son Anant. Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Ahmed Patel, DMK leader MK Stalin,  NCP leaders Sharad Pawar, Ajit Pawar, Supriya Sule, MNS leader Raj Thackeray, Uddhav’s wife Rashmi and son Aaditya. 

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee were among the invitees who did not turn up, citing personal reasons.  Governor BS Koshyari administered the oath of office to Uddhav and six other ministers. The six are Eknath Shinde, Subhash Desai from Shiv Sena, Jayant Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal  from NCP andBalasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut from the Congress. — IHN-NN


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