Mumbai: Rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde will take oath as Maharashtra chief minister Thursday 7.30 pm at Raj Bhavan in Mumbai.
Only Shinde will take oath for now, with the rest of the government to be sworn in later, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis said.
Eknath Shinde, who rebelled from the Shiv Sena earlier this month and was camping in Guwahati for nine days before arriving in Goa, returned to Mumbai Thursday afternoon.
He has been given Z-category security.
After arriving in Mumbai, he straightaway met Fadnavis, with whom he also addressed a joint press conference at Raj Bhavan.
“We have decided to give support to Eknath Shinde and his group. Eknath Shinde will be the CM and he will take the oath as CM today,” Fadnavis said.
“Expansion will happen later. BJP, Shiv Sena leaders, Independents will be made ministers. I will stay out of the government and will give support to make this government successful,” the former CM added.
Shinde said the BJP had the numbers to claim the CM’s chair, “but they showed generosity and made Balasaheb’s Shivsainik a CM”.
The BJP and the Shiv Sena are former allies. Shinde, who rebelled with 39 of the Sena’s 55 MLAs, has claimed to be the original Sena, but this question is likely to be settled in the coming days, with the section supporting Uddhav Thackeray also digging its heels in as heirs of Bal Thackeray’s legacy.
The rest of the rebel MLAs are still in Goa.
Before the Raj Bhavan meeting, Shinde met Fadnavis at the latter’s residence, where other BJP leaders — including Chandrakant Patil, Pravin Darekar, Ashish Shelar, and Pankaja Munde — were also present.
At Raj Bhavan, Shinde presented a letter of support to Governor B.S. Koshyari and the latter congratulated both Fadnavis and Shinde with sweets.
On 28 June, Fadnavis went to the governor asking for a floor test. The next day, the governor gave orders for a floor test to be convened Thursday. However, Sunil Prabhu, chief whip of Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena, went to the Supreme court against it, citing the pending disqualification proceedings against the rebel MLAs.
The court had earlier given the rebel camp a breather until 11 July in the disqualification proceedings.
The apex court did not stay the floor test, but said Wednesday evening that it would decide former Union minister Prabhu’s petition on merit, and that Thursday’s assembly session would be subject to the outcome of “these proceedings”.
However, Uddhav Thackeray subsequently addressed the state via Facebook Live and announced his resignation.
Updated with additional information
(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)