New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party leader Rahul Gandhi decided to skip the swearing-in ceremony of Uddhav Thackeray as the Maharashtra chief minister and have conveyed their decision to him.
Noting that the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress have come together under extraordinary circumstances, Sonia Gandhi, in a letter, wished Thackeray the very best in life and hoped that the new government would fulfil the hopes and expectations of the people of Maharashtra.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also sent his best wishes to Thackeray, terming his taking over as the chief minister of Maharashtra as a ‘historic event’.
“Aaditya (Thackeray) met me (Sonia Gandhi) yesterday (Wednesday) and extended your kind invitation to attend the swearing-in ceremony this evening in Mumbai. I regret that I am unable to be present at the function,” Sonia Gandhi wrote to Thackeray. “I wish you personally all the very best as you embark on a new innings in your life,” added Sonia.
The Congress chief said the Shiv Sena, NCP and her party have come together under ‘quite extraordinary circumstances, at a time when the country faces unprecedented threats from the BJP’.
“The political atmosphere has become poisonous and the economy has collapsed, farmers are facing great distress. The Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress have agreed to a common minimum programme and I am confident that all three parties will strive their utmost to implement that programme in letter and spirit,” Sonia pointed out.
“The people of Maharashtra expect the alliance to provide a cohesive, purposeful, responsible, responsive and transparent administration and our collective effort will undoubtedly be to ensure that these expectations are fulfilled,” added Sonia.
Rahul Gandhi also expressed his regret for not being able to attend the swearing-in ceremony, but conveyed his best wishes to the Shiv Sena chief.
“Thank you for your kind invitation to the swearing-in ceremony today. I offer my best wishes and congratulations on taking oath as chief minister of Maharashtra. I regret that I am unable to be present at the function,” he wrote to Thackeray, adding, “I wish you the very best as you embark on this new journey.”
The former Congress chief also noted that the events leading up to the government formation in Maharashtra had set a ‘dangerous precedent for our democracy’.
“I am glad that the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi has come together to defeat the BJP’s attempt to undermine our democracy. The people of Maharashtra have high expectations from the coalition and I am confident it will provide them a stable, secular and pro-poor government,” Rahul said.
Meanwhile in a separate letter to Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat, the Congress president expressed confidence that the Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena combine will provide a stable and responsive government.