Maharashtra Swearing-In: See You There, Says Uddhav Thackeray to BJP Chief
MUMBAI: A timely phone call has persuaded Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to attend this evening’s big bang ceremony where Devendra Fadnavis will be sworn in as the head of the new Maharashtra government.After the Shiv Sena publicly bemoaned the “humiliation” of its top leaders, BJP president Amit Shah allegedly phoned Mr Thackeray, and sought his attendance at Wankhede Stadium.Mr Fadnavis, now just hours shy of the title of Chief Minster, also called Mr Thackeray, claimed sources.
Mr Thackeray had RSVP-ed the event, after the BJP rejected his party’s demand for its leaders to be included in the small cabinet that will take its oath today.
While the Sena’s desire to join the government has been expressed in tones ranging from aggressive to coaxing, the BJP has so far only said that it hopes negotiations will come to fruition. The BJP and the Shiv Sena snapped a 25-year alliance in September; in the election that followed, the BJP lassoed its best-ever result, but not an outright majority. The Sena placed second, but any plans to exploit the BJP’s need for more seats were stultified with Sharad Pawar’s party, the NCP, deftly offering external support to a minority government.
While being made to wait, the Sena has tried to prove its worth as a partner, using editorials in its mouthpiece to praise the Prime Minister and to wish Mr Fadnavis success in leading Maharashtra. Today’s editorial defends the scale of the event at Wankhede Stadium that will star Mr Fadnavis, has an invitee list of 30,000, and has been designed by a top Bollywood art director.
“It’s laughable to hear criticism from those who supervised the loot of the state,” said the Sena mouthpiece, offering a quick rebuttal to the Congress, which was defeated in the election and has censured the BJP for the pomp and splendor of today’s event.