In a glittering ceremony at Wankhede stadium, the new chief minister of the state, Devendra Fadnavis, along with his cabinet took oath; from the city, MLAs Vinod Tawde, Prakash Mehta and Vidya Thakur were inducted
Wankhede stadium reverberated with political chants for the first time yesterday, as the state’s first BJP chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis, took oath amidst political stalwarts and spiritual gurus, and in the presence of thousands of party workers. The BJP cadre cheered Fadnavis and also jostled with him after the event.
Devendra Fadnavis is sworn in as chief minister of the state by Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao. Pics/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
As the oath-taking ceremony began at 4.26 pm sharp, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray was conspicuous by his absence, and it seemed he had skipped the ceremony. But, he came on stage after a few minutes and sat with Union Minister for Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu.
Expectedly, it was Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi who was the centre of attraction, greeted with chants of ‘Modi.. Modi’. Later, Thackeray received a huge response from the crowds, signifying a sign of the ice thawing between the two parties.
Senior BJP leaders Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi were seen at the mega event. From the NCP, which had offered outside support to the government, senior leaders Praful Patel, Ajit Pawar, Chhagan Bhujbal, state chief Sunil Tatkare, and speaker of the outgoing state assembly Dilip Walse Patil attended the event. The Congress was represented by ex-CM Prithviraj Chavan and state council chairman Shivajirao Deshmukh.
The new cabinet
BJP inducted nine ministers besides Fadnavis, seven with cabinet rank, and two with minister of state rank. Those who took oath as cabinet ministers included senior leader Eknath Khadse, Sudhir Mungantiwar, Vinod Tawde, Prakash Mehta, Chandrakant Patil, Pankaja Munde Palwe and Vishnu Savara, and Dilip Kemble and Vidya Thakur at the minister of state level. This means three MLAs from Mumbai are now ministers. Tribal leader Savara represents the newly created Palghar district.
Vinod Tawde and Vidya Thakur were also sworn in
In the razzmatazz that included laser screens, cultural programmes and decor that showcased the state’s legacy, close to 100 spiritual gurus were present. As far as bearing the cost for all this is concerned, the government will be paying for the swearing-in and the state guests, said a state official. The BJP would fork out their own money for the special décor, created by art director Nitin Chandrakant Desai, and the cultural show. Even then, the cost of the glamorous ceremony that was the presence of a handful of film stars will run into a few crores, said people close to the preparations for the event.
Pankaja Munde-Palwe, daughter of late BJP leader Gopinath Munde, was greeted with a huge roar from the crowds. Only the PM got a bigger cheer than her. Borivli MLA Vinod Tawde took his mother’s name along with his father’s, while being read the oath.
Anandiben Patel, Raman Singh, Parkash Singh Badal, Vasundhara Raje, Manohar Parrikar — chief ministers of Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Goa respectively — also came for the event.