Mumbai: The swearing-in of BJP's first Chief Minister in Maharashtra at the Wankhede Stadium here will be a lavish affair with about 40,000 guests including Prime Minister Narendra Modi in attendance.
For the first time swearing-in will be held at the famous cricket ground. In 1995, when BJP came to power in alliance with Shiv Sena, swearing-in had been held at Shivaji Park.
Apart from the formal ceremony, there will be a musical programme by Ashok Hande's group. Celebrities from various walks of life including Lata Mangeshkar and Amitabh Bachchan have been invited, apart from Chief Ministers of the BJP-ruled states, leaders of opposition in the non-BJP ruled states and all the newly elected MLAs in Maharashtra.
BJP has roped in noted art director Nitin Desai to design the stage decor which will have giant lotus cutouts and boats.
Mumbai BJP general secretary Atul Shah said the theme of the programme was inspired by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's statement in 1980 that he would like to see `the lotus' (BJP's symbol) bloom on Mumbai seafront.
Shah said the seating capacity of the stadium is about 40 to 45 thousand. "The state protocol department will send out about 2,500 invites while we will send the rest," he added.
Desai told PTI that the programme will last two hours. "The stage, with seating capacity of 200, will be semi-circular, to align with the stadium's outline. A LED screen has been installed to ensure that everyone present gets a view. It will be a modern and hi-tech stage which will also highlight the ancient culture of the state. There will be depiction of Shivaji Maharaj's coronation as well," he said.
Desai added that he had held discussions with CM-designate Devendra Fadnavis and senior leaders Vinod Tawde and Ashish Shelar, and accordingly vision of the new government will also be highlighted.
Care has been taken to ensure that there is no damage to the cricket ground, Desai asserted.