Mumbai, Nov 27 : Amid camaraderie and cheerful faces all around, some 283 of the total 288 newly-elected legislators of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly took their oath of office at the Vidhan Bhavan here on Wednesday.
The Pro-Tem Speaker Kalidas N Kolambkar administered the oath to all the MLAs starting at 0800 hours and completing shortly after noon, with five members reportedly absent or likely to be delayed for the oath-taking.
At the Vidhan Bhavan entrance, many were surprised to see Nationalist Congress Party MP Supriya Sule, Shiv Sena leader Aditya Thackeray and several Congress bigwigs warmly welcoming them.
They received MLAs of all parties with equal ease, ‘namaste’ with folded hands and wishing them best of luck, and many, especially from the Bharatiya Janata Party were visibly taken aback.
When cousin and former Deputy CM Ajit Pawar arrived, he smiled at Supriya, greeted her warmly, shook hands and hugged her, who reciprocated in equal measure and even bent down to touch his feet.
Moments later, even former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis arrived to Supriya's warm welcome with a handshake and gentle touch on the shoulder.
Her other big hugs were reserved for a few selected MLAs, including her own nephew Rohit Pawar, the young Sena cub Aditya Thackeray, Anil Deshmukh and some more.
She greeted with respect and courtesy many senior leaders like BJP's former Speaker Haribhau Bagade, former minister Ashish Shelar, NCP state chief Jayant Patil, Congress State chief Balasaheb Thorat, Sena's Legislative Party Leader Eknath Shinde and other bigwigs.
Today's mood was completely relaxed after the month-long political turmoil that rocked the state and culminated with the Sena-NCP-Congress and their allies unanimously electing Uddhav Thackeray as the next Chief Minister.
Mr Thackeray will be administered the oath of office and secrecy by the Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at a mega public function scheduled at Shivaji Park on Thursday evening.
Meanwhile, a Palghar-based party, Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) joined the Maha Vikas Aghadi(MVA), and in a statement, former Congress CM Ashok Chavan said the BVA with its' three legislators has decided to throw its weight behind the MVA.
The three legislators are Hitendra Thakur, his son Kshitij Thakur and Rajesh Patil, and with their support the MVA strength rose to 169 in the 288-member assembly, said Chavan.
In a related development, Uddhav Thackeray Wednesday morning called on Maharashtra Governor Koshyari at the Raj Bhavan.
Sporting his traditional kurta-pyjama, this time in a maroon-white combination, Thackeray was accompanied by his wife Rashmi for their courtesy visit to the Governor.
According to sources, a meeting of top NCP leaders is going on, in which they are discussing to appoint Ajit Pawar as Deputy Chief Minister.
Congress has not yet finalised its candidate for the post of Dy CM , top congress leaders including Ahmed Patel, Malik Arjun Gharge are holding meeting on this issue. (UNI)