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Congress opposes Maharashtra Speaker election

Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat in Mumbai on June 25, 2022.

Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat in Mumbai on June 25, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

The new Maharashtra government under the leadership of rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde is unlikely to get a smooth start as the scheduled election of the Speaker is being opposed by the Opposition Congress on the basis of Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s letter where he had said the election was not possible due to a pending case in court. 

“We do not understand the urgency to call a special session of the Assembly on Sunday. Moreover, a case regarding the Speaker’s election is pending in the Supreme Court and when we were in the government, the Governor was telling us for months that since the matter is sub-judice, he cannot call the election of the Speaker. In that case, how can he allow the election now for the new government?” asked senior Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat. 

On March 15, replying to the demand raised by then ruling Congress delegation to hold an election for the Speaker’s post, Mr. Koshyari’s office had replied, “In this regard, I am directed to inform you that since the matter is sub-judice, the date for election of the Speaker of the legislative Assembly cannot be fixed.” 

Narvekar is candidate

Meanwhile, a special session of the Legislature would be held on July 3 and 4 where the Speaker’s election will be held on the first day. The ruling BJP and rebel Sena alliance has already announced young BJP MLA Rahul Narvekar as the candidate for the Speaker’s post. Mr. Narvekar on Friday submitted his nomination for the post. The opposition group is yet to announce the name. 

The tripartite Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) of the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress had appointed the Congress’ Nana Patole as the Speaker after coming to power in 2019. A year later, Mr. Patole resigned as he went on to become the president of the State Congress unit in February 2021. Since then, the MVA had been demanding to announce the election date for the Speaker’s post to which Mr. Koshyari responded negatively. 

In due course, the State government amended the rules to elect the new Speaker through voice vote and show of hands instead of secret vote. The then Opposition BJP opposed the move and its MLA Girish Mahajan approached the Bombay High Court against it. The court dismissed his plea on March 9. He approached the Supreme Court claiming that the amendment to the rules was brought illegally and arbitrarily. Mr. Koshyari had referred to the petition denying permission to hold the election saying the matter is sub-judice. Despite many attempts, Mr. Mahajan did not respond till the time of writing this report. 

Back in Mumbai

Mr. Shinde, who after taking oath on Thursday had travelled back to Goa to meet the group of rebel MLAs stationed there, returned on Friday evening to attend the meeting of the Disaster Management Committee in the wake of an orange alert issued in Mumbai and other parts as the downpour continued throughout the day. 

Meanwhile, a day after the shocking demotion of former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis whom the BJP’s central leadership had asked to take up the job under Mr. Shinde as Deputy Chief Minister, the Mumbai unit of the party organised a celebration to mark the end of the MVA government and the beginning of the new government. Mr. Fadnavis, however, did not participate in the celebrations raising eyebrows. 


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Printable version | Jul 23, 2022 5:33:23 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/cong-opposes-speakers-election-by-new-maharashtra-govt/article65590115.ece