New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is likely to skip the swearing-in ceremony of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, which is scheduled to take place at Mumbai’s Shivaji Park, at 6:40 PM on Thursday. Also Read - Maharashtra: Curious Case of a Cabinet Without a CM
Interim party president Sonia Gandhi, too, is reported to be in two minds about attending the ceremony. However, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, also the architect of the ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi,’ is said to be keen that she does. Also Read - Who Will be Maharashtra Deputy CM? No Consensus Yet Among NCP, Congress, Sena
This latest possible development, if true, is likely to raise more doubts on whether the coalition government will actually be able to complete its full five-year term. Questions have been raised since the beginning, when the Sena entered into negotiations with the NCP-Congress combine, on how it will be able to work with the ideologically different Congress. While the Sena has always projected itself as a strong advocate of Hindutva, the Congress, on the other hand, is considered a ‘liberal’ party. Also Read - Maharashtra Politics: Praful Patel, The One Who Finally Changed Ajit Pawar's Heart
Leaders from both parties have, in the past, frequently taken jibes at each other. In fact, both Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi were reportedly against aligning with the Sena.
While resigning on Tuesday, Devendra Fadnavis, the now-former Chief Minister, too, had remarked that ‘three different wheels won’t be able to form a stable government.’
In the Maharashtra Assembly Election, held on October 21, the BJP-Sena alliance won a clear majority of 161 in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly. However, the BJP refused to accept the Sena’s demand that the Chief Minister’s post be shared for 30 months each, with the Sena getting the chance first, forcing it to quit the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and enter negotiations with the NCP-Congress combine.