Sonia, Rahul skip Uddhav's swearing-in, wish him the very best

New Delhi, Nov 28 (PTI) Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have decided to skip the swearing-in ceremony of Uddhav Thackeray as Maharashtra chief minister and have conveyed this to him.

Noting that the Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress have come together under extraordinary circumstances, Sonia Gandhi, in a letter to Thackeray, wished Uddhav the very best in life and hoped that the new government will fulfil the hopes and expectations of the people of Maharashtra.

'Aditya met me yesterday 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,' she said in her letter.

'I wish you personally all the very best as you embark on a new innings in your life,' Sonia Gandhi said.

She said the Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress 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,' the Congress president said.

'The people of Maharashtra expect the alliance to provide cohesive, purposeful, responsible, responsive and transparent administration and our collective effort will undoubtedly be to ensure that these expectations are fulfilled,' she said.

Rahul Gandhi also expressed his regret for not being able to attend the swearing-in ceremony, but gave 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 said in a letter to Thackeray, adding, 'I wish you the very best as you embark on this new journey.' He also noted that the events leading up to the government formation in Maharashtra have 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 Gandhi said.

Uddhav Thackeray takes over as chief minister of Maharashtra at a function in the Shivaji maidan in Mumbai after the Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP decided to come together and form a government in Maharashtra under a common minimum programme. PTI SKC NSD