Mumbai: Against the backdrop of a theme depicting the historic “Shivrajyabhishek” — the crowning of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj — and a large picture of Maharashtra Legislature building, Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari will swear-in Shiv Sena President and Maha Vikas Aghadi leader Uddhav Thackeray as the new Chief Minister, at the historic Shivaji Park on Thursday evening.
Under the baton of veteran Bollywood art director Nitin Desai, an army of around 1,000 workmen and designers are working furiously since Wednesday evening to ensure the ‘Shivrajyabhishek’ set in colourful splendour is completed by 3 pm, as also a massive stage measuring around 8,000 square feet with a seating capacity of around 300.
The government and Shiv Sena have ordered over 40,000 chairs to accommodate the invited guests close to the stage, and the remaining expected over 3,00,000 activists of the Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress shall cover the rest of the ground at the historic Shivaji Park, Dadar west.
The Mumbai Police have implemented massive traffic restrictions in view of the anticipated heavy VVIP movements for the swearing-in ceremony.
Among the dignitaries invited include Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi, leaders of all national parties, Chief Ministers of many opposition states, members of the judiciary, civil, police and defence officials, diplomatic corps stationed in Mumbai, films and sports personalities, industrialists, celebs and more than 500 farmers and farm widows, to witness the oath ceremony.
Since Wednesday, Shivaji Park itself has been given a mega-facelift with touch-ups to the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji, the Bal Thackeray memorial, a bust of Uddhav Thackeray’s mother, Meenatai Thackeray, sweeping of the ground and disposing off any wastes in and outside the 28-acre ground, erection of flood-lights, and laying of a massive red carpet where the guests would be seated.
Per current indications, besides Thackeray, one or two legislators from each of the three main alliance partners are likely to be sworn-in as ministers, while the remaining lot of ministers shall take the oath later, by early-December.
This is the second time a Shiv Sena government will be sworn-in at Shivaji Park – the first one being in 1995, when it led the Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance government, and this time it is a Sena-led MVA government set to take office.
Thackeray will become the first member of the state’s prominent political family and the third Sena Chief Minister after Manohar Joshi (1995-1998) and Narayan Rane (1999).
Since Thackeray is not an elected member of either house, the party strategists are currently studying which Assembly constituency he can contest from in a by-poll which will be necessitated within six months or by May-end.