Assembly to get LoP on Monday

Deputy Speaker post in Council will go to Shiv Sena: sources

The Assembly is likely to get its Leader of Opposition (LoP) on Monday. The election to the Council’s Deputy Speaker post will also be announced on the same day. Sources said an arrangement between the ruling and the Opposition parties has been reached under which the LoP will be nominated and the Deputy Speaker post will go to the Shiv Sena.

Following the resignation of Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil as an MLA and his switch to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from the Congress, the post is vacant. Two weeks ago, the Congress appointed Vijay Vadettiwar as the party’s group leader in the Assembly. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) too had extended support to Mr. Vadettiwar as the new LoP, but the government has delayed the announcement.

Sources in the Congress told The Hindu that the BJP-Sena alliance is eyeing the Deputy Speaker post, which is likely to go to the Sena. As per the party-wise strength in the 78-member Upper House, the BJP and the Sena have 23 and 12 MLCs respectively, while the NCP and the Congress have 17 and 16 MLCs respectively. The ruling party has a support of one MLC from the Rashtriya Samaj Party and four Independents of the six. Two Independents and one MLC each from Lokbharati, the Peasants and Workers Party, and the People’s Republic Party are with the Opposition.

While the numbers are in favour of the ruling coalition, the Congress was planning to contest the poll as NCP’s Ramraje Naik-Nimbalkar is the Council Speaker. On Thursday, when the Opposition reminded Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis about the nomination for the LoP post, he said, “That’s in your hand.”

According to the Congress sources, he indicated that the Congress should withdraw from contesting for the Deputy Speaker post and let the Sena have it.

An NCP MLC confirmed that the Deputy Speaker will be announced (if unopposed) on Monday, which will clear the path for the LoP post in the Lower House. Congress Legislative Party leader Balasaheb Thorat and Mr. Vadettiwar said they can comment on the matter on Monday. “I can only say that this is our constitutional right to get the LoP post,” Mr. Vadettiwar said.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 8:08:28 PM |

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