A day ahead of Uddhav Thackeray taking oath as Maharashtra chief minister, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Praful Patel confirmed that the deputy chief minister of the alliance will be from his party and the Speaker from the Congress. “There will be only one deputy chief minister and that will be from the NCP,” said Patel after attending a meeting of the MLAs of the three alliance partners in Mumbai.
Patel said the NCP will get the deputy Speaker’s post in the Assembly. Along with Thackeray, one or two members of each of the three parties will take oath as ministers on Thursday, added Patel.
“How many ministers will take an oath will be decided tonight (Wednesday night),” he added.
Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray on Wednesday night met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and is understood to have invited her for his father’s swearing-in ceremony, which will take place at 6:40 pm at Shivaji Park in central Mumbai on Thursday. He also called upon senior Congress leader and former prime minister Manmohan Singh to extend the invitation.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal and DMK chief MK Stalin have also been invited for the ceremony. Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar said the chief ministers of Congress-ruled states have also been invited.
Apart from prominent political leaders, the Sena has also invited 400 farmers, including members of families of agriculturists who committed suicide, party MP Vinayak Raut said.
Patel’s statement came after a meeting of the leaders of the ‘Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi’ (MVA) as the process of forming the new council of ministers gathered momentum. The meet took place at the YB Chavan Centre in south Mumbai.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Sena president Thackeray, and Congress veteran Ahmed Patel were among the leaders who held parleys over the council of ministers and the swearing-in ceremony, to be held at Shivaji Park in Dadar on Thursday evening. Congress general secretary in-charge for Maharashtra Mallikarjun Kharge joined later.
“We have sorted all issues,” Patel said after the meeting, without divulging details pertaining to the number of ministers who will take oath on Thursday with Thackeray.
Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat also refused to divulge details but said the number of ministers to be sworn in was not yet decided.
The meeting followed Pawar’s parleys with Patel, Congress general secretary KC Venugopal and others at the former’s residence in Mumbai earlier on Wednesday.
Maharashtra will have a chief minister from the Shiv Sena after 20 years. Thackeray, 59, will be sworn in as a chief minister in an evening ceremony at the sprawling Shivaji Park, where his father and Sena founder Bal Thackeray addressed his famous Dussehra rallies.
The last Sena man to occupy the post was Narayan Rane in 1999, after Manohar Joshi, who in 1995 became the first Sena chief minister.
There is speculation that Ajit Pawar, who was present at the party meeting earlier after meeting the NCP chief on Tuesday night, maybe inducted in the new cabinet.
A special session of the 14th state Assembly was held here on Wednesday where the oath was administered to 285 newly-elected members by pro tem Speaker Kalidas Kolambkar who was appointed to the post by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. (IANS)