Speculations were rife since morning when the three major parties in the state, the BJP, the Shiv Sena and the NCP, called meetings at the residences of their respective leaders. The BJP core committee huddled at Sagar bungalow of Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, while Shiv Sena ministers and some of the MLAs gathered at Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s official residence, Varsha.
Ajit Pawar's meeting at his official residence and Shiv Sena, BJP meetings at Sagar and Varsha bunglow
Ajit Pawar called a meeting of party MLAs at his official residence, Devgiri. The party’s working president, Praful Patel, and Supriya Sule were also present at the meeting. Post-noon, the leaders emerged from Devgiri and some of the vehicles headed towards Raj Bhavan. Around the same time the meetings at Sagar and Varsha also ended and leaders from Shiv Sena and BJP too were seen to be heading towards Raj Bhavan. Eventually it became clear that the NCP had decided to join the government and Ajit Pawar would take oath as deputy chief minister.
NCP leaders avoided talking to media
Though the atmosphere at the Darbar Hall of Raj Bhavan, where the swearing-in ceremony took place, was filled with excitement, the striking thing was that none of the NCP leaders present were willing to speak to the media. “You will soon know who is being sworn in. Everything will be clear very soon,” several of them said, while others flatly declined to comment. The Shinde camp appeared confused while the BJP camp was split in its reactions. Some of the ministers were positive about the developments,while others who were expecting to get inducted into the Cabinet appeared nervous.
Shinde and Fadnavis present on the dais
Shinde, Fadnavis and the newly appointed Deputy Chief Minister, Ajit Pawar, were present on the dais. The oath-taking ceremony started with the rendition of the national and the state anthems and concluded with the singing of the national anthem. After the ceremony, while interacting with reporters, Shinde said, “Our double engine government has now become a three-engine government and we will advance rapidly towards development.” Fadnavis praised Pawar for his administrative acumen and said that his experience would help the state proceed forward.