Sunday, Sep 25, 2022

285 Members, Including Fadnavis, Ajit Pawar, Take Oath In Maharashtra Assembly

Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray is set to be sworn in as chief minister on November 28.

Maharashtra Assembly. ANI/Twitter

A special session of the 14th Maharashtra Legislative Assembly was held in Mumbai on Wednesday where oath was administered to 285 members elected in the October 21 election.

In the 288-member House, two members - Sudhir Mungantiwar (BJP) and Devendra Bhuyar (Swabhimani Paksh) - did not take oath on Wednesday, a Vidhan Bhavan official said.

Pro tem Speaker Kalidas Kolambkar took oath on Tuesday after being appointed to the post by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

NCP's Ajit Pawar and Chhagan Bhujbal, Congress leaders and former chief ministers Ashok Chavan, Prithviraj Chavan, and former speakers Dilip Walse Patil (NCP) and Haribhau Bagade (BJP) were among the members who took oath early.

Ajit Pawar was greeted with thumping of desks from NCP members when he went to the podium to take oath.

Newly-elected Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray, who made his electoral debut by winning from Worli seat in Mumbai, was congratulated by members cutting across party lines.

The 29-year-old son of Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray went up to all senior members to greet them.

The NCP has announced that Uddhav Thackeray would be the next chief minister of Maharashtra. He will be sworn in CM on Thursday evening at Shivaji Park in Dadar, the place where his party holds the traditional Dussehra rally each year.

Thackeray is currently not a member of any House in the state legislature.

State Maharashtra President Balasaheb Thorat has said that decision has not been taken on who would become the Deputy CM.

Two members - Mahesh Baldi (Independent), Mohammed Ismail (AIMIM)- were administered oath in the Speaker's chamber on Wednesday as they arrived after the House was adjourned, legislature secretary Rajendra Bhagwat told PTI.

Ismail arrived late as he got stuck in traffic, while Baldi, the MLA from Uran in neighbouring Raigad district, was held up as the ferry boat which he boarded to reach Mumbai from Alibaug, broke down, he said.

Bhagwat said a decision on the date for the Speaker's election will be taken after the Cabinet meeting, following the swearing-in of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray as chief minister on Thursday.

However, sources in the Congress said the election for the Speaker's post will be held on November 30.

Earlier in the morning, NCP MP Supriya Sule greeted party MLAs Ajit Pawar and Rohit Pawar at Vidhan Bhawan entrance before the commencement of the session.

"This day comes with a big responsibility," she told reporters.

In the House, Kolambar announced Babanrao Pachpute, Vijaykumar Gavit and Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil as the presiding officers for administering oath of the members. Names of members were called out on the basis of seniority.

Presiding officers Pachpute and Gavit were the first to take oath followed by caretaker chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

The state remained under President's rule for 13 days between November 12 and 23 after no political party was able to form a government.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked Koshyari to appoint a pro tem speaker and ensure all elected members of the House are sworn in on Wednesday itself by 5 pm.

The BJP-led government, which was formed with the support of NCP leader Ajit Pawar on November 23, collapsed on Tuesday afternoon, after Pawar stepped down as deputy chief minister and Devendra Fadnavis as chief minister.

The 'Maha Vikas Aghadi' comprising the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress, on Monday submitted a letter claiming support of 162 MLAs to the governor.

The government formation has been delayed by over a month due to a tussle between the Shiv Sena and the BJP leading to a snap in their three-decade-old alliance. Following this, Shiv Sena started talks with the Congress-NCP alliance for government formation and as the talks stretched out, on November 23, Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as CM with support from NCP's Ajit Pawar. Four days later Fadnavis resigned following Pawar quitting as Deputy CM because NDA did not have a majority without NCP MLAs.

(With inputs from PTI)