New Delhi: After taking oath as the 18th Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray asserted that the meaning of ‘secularism’ for his party is what it is mentioned in the Indian Constitution. Notably, Thackeray’s statement comes in response to a question of a journalist  ‘if the Shiv Sena has become secular as the word secular has been mentioned in ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’s Common Minimum Program (CMP)?’

Reacting over his question, the Chief Minister asked him what is meaning of secular, to which the journalist responded that he wants to know the same from him. “Secular ka matlab kya hai? Samvidhan mein jo kuch hai woh hai (what is the meaning of secular? Whatever there is in the Constitution),” said Thackeray, who was addressing his first presser as the CM of Maharashtra after holding the first cabinet meeting of the state.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) veteran and newly appointed minister Chhagan Bhujbal also came to his (Thackeray) rescue and said that the word secular is mentioned in the Constitution.

Meanwhile, speaking at the press conference, Thackeray also assured that his government will pay high priority to the farmers of Maharashtra. “We will work to make sure that farmers get the benefits”, said the Chief Minister. The announcement from the new chief minister assumes significance as more than 400 farmers attended the oath-taking ceremony with the objective to highlight their plight.

Earlier on Thursday evening at around 6:30 PM, Mahrashtra Governor BS Koshyari administered the oath of office and secrecy to Thackeray.

Soon after completing the formalities,  Thackeray, in an unusual gesture of humility, stepped to the front of the stage and knelt down, touching his hands and head on the floor to express his gratitude to the people of Maharashtra for the honour bestowed on him.

Uddhav is the third from the Sena and first from the politically prominent Thackeray clan to be Chief Minister of Maharashtra.