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Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde takes charge at Mantralaya; Bal Thackeray, Dighe’s photos in his office

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Mumbai, July 07: Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde officially took charge of his post at the state secretariat Mantralaya on Thursday.

A puja was held at the tastefully decorated office of the chief minister before Shinde took charge. His chamber had a large photograph of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray and a picture of Shinde's mentor Anand Dighe next to it.

Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde takes charge at Mantralaya; Bal Thackeray, Dighe’s photos in his office

As soon as he entered the secretariat building, Shinde paid floral tributes to Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Dr B R Ambedkar.

Speaking to reporters, Deepak Kesarkar, spokesperson of the Shinde-led faction of MLAs, said Bal Thackeray was nobody's property.

"Balasaheb belongs to the entire state and nobody can change this fact," he said, when asked about the Uddhav Thackeray-led faction's objection to the use of the late Sena founder's name and photograph by the Shinde group.

Targeting Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, Kesarkar said, "Raut is closer to Sharad Pawar, I don't know about Uddhavji. When I realised that the Shiv Sena is facing problems in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA- comprising the Sena, NCP and Congress), I tried to convince Uddhavji. I have never met him for a ministerial post." "In 2014, he had told me he was unable to make me a cabinet minister because he had to give first priority to Sena leaders who had worked with Balasaheb. That is why I respect Uddhavji," he said.

Kesarkar also criticised the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena's decision to replace Bhavana Gawali as the party's chief whip in the Lok Sabha.

"With such an action, you are insulting women. She is a five-time MP, who has held the Shiv Sena flag high," he said.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led faction on Wednesday nominated Rajan Vichare as the party's chief whip in the Lok Sabha, replacing Gawali.

Eknath Shinde
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