- Uddhav Thackeray’s absence has fuelled speculation about his health
- “The Chief Minister’s condition is fine,” his son told reporters
- Uddhav Thackeray, 61, recently had cervical spine surgery
Uddhav Thackeray’s absence on the first day of the Maharashtra assembly session fuelled intense speculation about the Chief Minister’s health, which did not abate even after a statement from his son and state minister Aaditya Thackeray.
“The Chief Minister’s condition is fine. I have spoken to him on the phone. He will come whenever he wants to,” Aaditya Thackeray told reporters.
Uddhav Thackeray, 61, recently had cervical spine surgery.
Yesterday, he attended a meeting of the state cabinet via video call and also joined in a tea gathering of Shiv Sena MLAs virtually.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked after the Chief Minister’s health when he met Shiv Sena MPs at Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla’s meeting after the close of the Winter Session of Parliament.
The Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly Devendra Fadnavis said that the Chief Minister should delegate his responsibilities to his cabinet colleagues if he is not well enough to attend the Assembly. Mr Fadnavis’ remarks seemed to tone down the Opposition’s stand after state BJP chief and MLA Chandrakant Patil earlier said the Opposition won’t accept Uddhav Thackeray’s absence for the entire session.
“We are not insisting that the chief minister attend the Assembly session if he is not well. In such circumstances, he should distribute his responsibilities to the cabinet colleagues,” Mr Fadnavis told reporters.
“If he cannot attend the entire session, we are okay with it. (But) Administrative proceedings should not be affected.”
Taking a dig at the Shiv Sena’s allies in the Maharashtra coalition this morning, Chandrakant Patil had remarked: “He doesn’t trust the Congress and NCP since they may not give up the post once they have it. His son Aaditya Thackeray can be given charge.”
In response, another Maharashtra Minister, Jayant Patil, said there was no need for any replacement. “Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s health is good and he can come to the legislature any time. There is no need to hand over the charge to anyone else. He is functioning from home,” the minister said.
Uddhav Thackeray had recently visited the Vidhan Bhavan in his first public appearance after the surgery. He has been working from his official home and has been attending cabinet meetings virtually.