After a high drama, Maharashtra's 19th chief minister, Shiv Sena's Uddhav Thackeray finally took the oath of office last week, becoming the first from the Thackeray clan to hold the post. The new Maharashtra government came with many firsts, most important being Sena, NCP and Congress joining hands to keep the BJP away.
While many have still not digested Sena ditching its old alliance partner, the BJP, after a long cold war between the two, CM Thackeray has already begun to walk back on — or at least what it looks like — the decisions taken by the BJP-led government that was in power for the last five years. Interestingly, these decisions were taken by the BJP while Sena was its alliance partner.
With just four days in office, Thackeray has put a brake — for now — on two of the projects that had received green signals from the BJP government, of which Sena was a partner.
Thackeray on Sunday ordered a review of all on-going development projects in the state, including the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train.
The bullet train project has faced stiff opposition from farmers and tribals whose lands are to be acquired.
"This government is of the common man. Like you asked now, yes, we will review the bullet train (project). Have I stayed the bullet train project like Aarey car shed? No, I haven't," he told reporters late Sunday night.
The state government will also come out with a white paper on the financial condition of the state, Thackeray said.
He said that the state government, which has a debt of nearly Rs 5 lakh crore, is firm on giving unconditional loan waivers to farmers.
The priorities of the previous BJP-led government in the state — in which his party was a constituent — were not "misplaced", he said, and added that there will be no vendetta politics.
Thackeray on Friday announced stay on the construction of the metro car shed project in the city's green lung Aarey Colony, where protests were held in October against cutting of trees for the work.
Speaking to reporters soon after taking charge as the chief minister in Mantralaya, Thackeray said that not a single tree leaf will be cut till further developments.
A Supreme Court bench had in October sought a status report with pictures on plantation, transplantation and felling of trees in Aarey colony area.
The Bombay High Court had on October 4 refused to declare Aarey Colony a forest and declined to quash the Mumbai municipal corporation's decision to allow felling of over 2,600 trees in the green zone to set up a metro car shed.
Thackeray also said that the cases registered against green activists who tried to stop felling of trees in Mumbai's Aarey Colony will be withdrawn.
"I have directed police officials to withdraw the cases registered against green activists who were protesting against chopping of trees in the Aarey forest area," Thackeray said.
Besides, the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress alliance in Maharashtra have released their common minimum programme (CMP) for the next five years.
In a slowing economy, the alliance partners have promised as much as 80 percent job reservation for local youth of the state. The CMP also promises fellowships for educated but unemployed youth of the state. Vacant posts in the state government also shall be filled immediately, the release promises.
(Inputs from PTI)