The former Finance Minister and senior Nationalist Congress Party leader, Dilip Walse-Patil, was elected unopposed Speaker of the 12th Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on Wednesday.

Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Home Minister R.R. Patil had proposed Mr. Patil’s name, which was backed by Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal and State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harshwardhan Patil.

Bharatiya Janata Party’s Girish Bapat had filed his nomination for the post, but he withdrew at the last minute.

BJP’s Eknath Khadse was unanimously elected Leader of the Opposition. In the previous House, he was the BJP group leader while the Leader of the Opposition was from the Shiv Sena. As the BJP has won two seats more than the Sena this time, Mr. Khadse was chosen for the job. He told journalists that more than a prestigious post it was a position of responsibility.

The Deputy Speaker post still remains vacant. Mr. Khadse said that as per tradition if the Speaker post went to the ruling party, the Deputy Speaker should be from the Opposition camp. He said he had met Mr. Chavan and requested him to follow the tradition.