Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde was on Thursday sworn in as the 20th chief minister of Maharashtra, while BJP stalwart Devendra Fadnavis took oath as the deputy chief minister, capping a day of surprises and hectic political activities, just 24 hours after the collapse of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
In a surprise move, Fadnavis announced in the evening that Shinde, who led the rebellion in the Shiv Sena, will be the new chief minister, while he himself will be out of the new government, only to change his stand and become the deputy CM following prodding from his party's central leadership.
Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari administered the oath of office to Shinde and his deputy Fadnavis at the Raj Bhavan in South Mumbai shortly after 7.30 pm.
Shinde, a four-time MLA, began oath-taking by paying tributes to late Shiv Sena leaders Bal Thackeray and Anand Dighe, his political mentor in Thane district.
His supporters shouted slogans hailing Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Sena founder Thackeray and Dighe as he finished taking the oath.
Earlier, BJP president J P Nadda said Fadnavis would be part of the new Maharashtra cabinet led by Shinde, minutes after Fadnavis announced he will not be in the government.
"Development of the state is my priority. I will take all sections of society along with me," Shinde said after the ceremony.
The new CM was accompanied by his family members to the inauguration. However, his son Shrikant Shinde, the Lok Sabha MP from Kalyan in Thane district, is staying with the rebel Shiv Sena MLAs in Goa, where they had arrived from Guwahati on Wednesday night, nine days after the rebellion that pulled down the MVA government.
"Shinde always took care of his supporters and party workers. For the first time, a legislator from Thane district has become the chief minister. We are delighted for this decision," said a supporter.
The Sena leader, hailing originally from a village in Satara district in western Maharashtra, is the MLA from Kopri-Pachpakhadi in Thane city.
Some Shinde supporters took out a motorbike rally in Thane and shouted slogans hailing their leader, who is known as a mass leader, often mingling with his voters and hearing their grievances besides holding regular meetings with local Sena workers and functionaries.