Maharashtra politics: Aaditya Thackeray and Rohit Pawar the centre of attraction as MLAs take oath
Hugs, selfies and sulks at House
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP Supriya Sule welcoming MLAs of her party, the Congress and the Shiv Sena, jubilant supporters hugging each other and sulking Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders exuding confidence that the government won’t last for more than six months. These were some of the scenes in the Maharashtra Assembly on Wednesday as the newly elected MLAs took oath.
Ms. Sule was among the first NCP leaders to arrive at the legislature building. She stood at the entrance and greeted all MLAs coming for the oath-taking ceremony. Her cousin and NCP leader, Ajit Pawar, who had attempted rebellion but backtracked and returned to the party, hugged her before entering the building.
‘Will do as told’
“I am with the NCP and Sharad Pawar is our leader. I will do as Sharad Pawar tells me to do,” Mr. Ajit Pawar said. Ms. Sule expressed happiness over the fact that three parties were coming together to form the government.
On Wednesday, 287 of the 288 MLAs took oath. Former Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar was not present in the Assembly owing to a family function at his native district Chandrapur. Pro-tem Speaker Kalidas Kolambkar, who was sworn in by the Governor on Tuesday night, administered the oath.
Shiv Sena MLA Aaditya Thackeray and NCP MLA Rohit Pawar, both elected for the first time and touted as future leaders of their respective parties, were the centre of attraction with a huge crowd surrounding them to click selfies and greet them.
The young leaders posed together showing the victory sign for a special photo session on the Assembly building staircase.
Apart from the two leaders, the new Assembly consists of youngsters such as Dheeraj Deshmukh, Ruturaj Patil, Zeeshan Siddiqui of the Congress, Yogesh Kadam of the Sena, Aditi Tatkare of the NCP, and Ram Satpute of the BJP.
“The mandate of the people is to create a new Maharashtra. We youngsters will all work under the leadership of our senior leaders and for the welfare of common people of Maharashtra,” said Mr. Thackeray.
Senior NCP and Congress leaders were however seen cautioning the over enthusiastic supporters that despite Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray being the Chief Minister-designate, the real test of the government will be on the Assembly floor after the swearing-in ceremony. “The election of the Assembly Speaker will be an extremely important move. We have not loosened up. All our MLAs will remain in hotels till the government clears the trust vote,” said Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan.
Meanwhile, sulking BJP MLAs were seen expressing doubts in hushed voices about the stability of the government. “There is going to be internal conflict in this government and we will now wait till one of the three parties breaks away. It won’t take more than three months,” said a former minister and BJP MLA.