Uddhav Thackeray resigns as Maharashtra CM, MLC day ahead of floor test
Mumbai, June 29, 2022
Deserted by most of the MLAs of his party and several of his Ministers, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray resigned from office late on Wednesday, opting not to face a floor test ordered by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Thursday.
Thackeray submitted his resignation to Koshyari late on Wednesday, shortly after announcing in an address over social media his decision to quit as Chief Minister as well as a Member of the Legislative Council (MLC).
The resignation brought to an end ninne days of political drama that began with a large number of Shiv Sena MLAs rebelled against him after travelling first in a group to Surat, Gujarat and then Guwahati in Assam, reducing his Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government to a minority in the Assembly. The group claimed it had the support of 40 Shiv Sena MLAs and about ten others -- independents and members of small parties.
Thackeray went ahead with his move to resign from the Chief Minister's post after the Supreme Court ruled that he would have to face a floor test in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on Thursday, as directed by the Governor.
Thackeray, accompanied by his wife Rashmi and his son Aditya, who was a Minister in the outgoing government, drove his car to Raj Bhavan and handed over his resignation to the Governor.
Later, he returned to his private residence "Matoshri" in Bandra East even as Shiv Sainiks raised slogans in his suport at several places en route.
With this, the two-and-half year old, three-party Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)-Congress government experiment has collapsed, a day after Koshyari ordered a floor test late on Tuesday night.
Thackeray announced his resignation in a live address on social media in his familiar cool, composed, father-figure style as he did regularly in the past two-and-half years.
"With your blessings and cooperation, I could manage it till now... I especially wish to thank Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar and Congress President Sonia Gandhi, and both the parties for extending their cooperation," he said.
Thackeray also acknowledged how the NCP-Congress ministers on Wednesday immediately agreed to the renaming proposals of Aurangabad to Sambhajinagar and Osmanabad as Dharashiv, though conceding it was a much-delayed decision.
Touching briefly on his short-lived 31-month-long tenure and the 56-year-old party legacy that he carries forward, Thackeray recalled how many ordinary workers, autorickshaw drivers, paanwalas, etc, grew in the party, became corporators to ministers and became very big.
"Now those same people are 'naaraz' (disgruntled) and those who did not get anything are still loyal and stand strongly with Shiv Sena," he rued.
"I invited them (the rebels) several times to come and meet me and discuss their issues... whether they have problems with me, the Shiv Sena, the NCP, Congress or anything else... but there was no response," he noted with a tinge of sadness.
Thackeray said that those who became big on the strength of the Sena and Balasaheb Thackeray, if they believe that by toppling his son, they will get "punya" (grace), let them have it.
"I was a reluctant CM.. The circumstances under which I came to the post is well known.. I am not hankering for any post. Before you, I hereby quit my post as CM.. I only need your love and affection," said CM, who had vacated the official quarters, 'Varsha' bungalow last week, hours after the rebellion erupted in full force.
Adding that he did not want the drama of any floor test or such politics, Thackeray also said he was quitting as Member of Legislative Council.
Taking a swipe, Thackeray said the Governor upheld democracy by acting on the Opposition's letter to order the floor test within 24 hours, and wished he (Governor) had done the same with the MVA's proposal to nominate 12 MLCs, now pending since November 2020 with Raj Bhavan.
Moments later, opposition Bharatiya Janata Party leaders including state President Chandrakant Patil, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis and others celebrated the CM's announcement with cheers and distributed sweets.
Several rebel MLAs welcomed the developments and said the state will now be on the path of progress under the leadership of Fadnavis, who is expected to be the next Chief Minister.
(With inputs from IANS)