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CM Uddhav Thackeray – A photographer, philosopher and political leader

With the swearing-in of Uddhav Thackeray, Maharashtra will have the first Shiv Sena Chief Minister in 20 years. The last Shiv Sena member to hold the top post was Narayan Rane in 1999. Manohar Joshi was the first from Shiv Sena to become the Chief Minister of Maharashtra in 1995. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray was nominated as the leader of the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress “Maha Vikas Aghadi” at a joint meeting on November 26, following which the senior leaders of the three parties met Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to stake claim to form the government in the state. Uddhav Thackeray is not an elected member of the Maharashtra assembly, he will be required to contest elections and become a member of the assembly within six months of taking oath as CM.

Born on July 27, 1960, in Mumbai, Uddhav is son of Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray, has never contested an election previously and has never been a member of the state assembly. The late Bal Thackeray had believed in wielding power from the background and never assuming government positions himself. He had founded the Shiv Sena in 1966 to fight for the rights of the Marathi people. Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aaditya Thackeray created history by becoming the first member of the Thackeray family to contest an election. Aaditya Thackeray had contested and won from Worli assembly constituency. Uddhav Thackeray will now either have to get one of the party MLAs to resign and contest from the seat or get his son Aaditya Thackeray to resign from Worli. This would also be the first time in Maharashtra politics that the Shiv Sena has broken away from its ally of 30 years (BJP) and joined hands with its foe of 30 years, the Congress and the NCP. Our new CM is a graduate from JJ School of Arts and a published author. He is also a professional photographer whose work has appeared in various magazines and has been showcased at numerous exhibitions. Thackeray is also the editor-in-chief of ‘Saamana’, a prominent Marathi newspaper which was founded by his father. He was handed over the responsibility of managing the party during the 2002 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections, in which Shiv Sena performed well. The 59-year-old was appointed as the working president of the party in 2003. In 2004, Bal Thackeray announced him as the next party chief.

Having entered politics at a late age, Uddhav has had a short span of time to prove his mettle in his party and the state. Under his capable guidance, his party swept several local and state elections. The chief minister-designate has also expanded the party base and network across the state including local bodies and Zilla Parishads.

Thackeray organised a successful debt relief campaign for the farmers of Vidarbha region. The farmers in the region were under heavy debt following a long dry spell in 2007. In the Assembly elections held in October, BJP and Shiv Sena contested the polls together and got 105 and 56 seats, respectively. However, the two parties had fallout over power sharing of the chief ministerial post. Thackeray asserted that the chief minister’s post will be on a rotational basis, with BJP ruling the first half of the five-year term and Sena completing the last half. However, the BJP rejected Sena’s claim, saying no such agreement was finalised before the elections and made it clear that Fadnavis would be the chief minister for full five years. Thackeray then severed his party’s 30-year-old ties with BJP and entered into talks with Congress and NCP, two ideologically different parties, charting an unlikely alliance.

However, in a dramatic turn of events, Fadnavis and NCP leader Ajit Pawar took oath as chief minister and deputy chief minister respectively on November 23, pushing the state into deeper political chaos and nixing Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP’s bid to form government in the state. NCP chief Sharad Pawar quickly clarified that his nephew’s decision to join hands with BJP was his personal choice and not of the party’s. After days of quick political developments in the state that included a grand public parade by MLAs from Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP, Fadnavis and Pawar tendered their resignations. While Fadnavis said his party did not have the numbers to prove majority on the floor of the Assembly, Pawar stepped down due to personal reasons. The resignations came after the Supreme Court had asked the Fadnavis government to prove its majority in the 288-member Assembly. Thackeray was unanimously elected as the leader of the tri-party alliance which met the Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to stake claim to form the government in the state. Thackeray is married to Rashmi Thackeray and has two sons, Aaditya and Tejas. The 59-year-old’s photo book Maharashtra Desha (2010), which is full of breathtaking aerial shots, offers a glimpse into the cultural fabric, physical beauty and historical perspective of Maharashtra.He has set new parameters in state politics and reached to the peaks of the power in state. We wish him luck and expect a steady government.

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Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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