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Congress yet to reach consensus on candidate for Speaker’s post

First hurdle: The newly sworn-in MVA government, led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, faces a trust vote in the Assembly on Saturday.

First hurdle: The newly sworn-in MVA government, led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, faces a trust vote in the Assembly on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

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After initial hesitation to take up post, party to submit three names today

A day before the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government faces a floor test in the Assembly, the State Cabinet on Friday recommended changing the pro tem Speaker from the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Kalidas Kolambkar to Dilip Walse-Patil of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

Meanwhile, through the day, the Congress and NCP were still carrying out deliberations over who will eventually get the post of Speaker, after the Congress initially decided to give up the post. A senior Congress leader said that instead of the Speaker’s post, the party had expressed interest in the Deputy CM’s post.

By evening, however, State Congress president Balasaheb Thorat met NCP chief Sharad Pawar, and the allies decided to stick to the initial formula of Congress getting the Speaker’s post and NCP getting that of the Deputy CM.

The Congress will now submit a list of three candidates for the Speaker’s post till 10 a.m. on Saturday, as the deadline to file nominations is 12 p.m.

The names being discussed within party circles for the post include former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, and senior MLAs K.C. Padvi and Varsha Gaikwad. However, till the time of going to press, no consensus had been reached on any names.

A senior party leader said, “None of the Congress MLAs are actually willing to take up the Speaker’s post. It is seen as the end of the road by many. However, the party will have to finalise a name at the earliest. We are confident that we will reach consensus by morning.”

According to sources, after the election of the Speaker on Sunday, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis is likely to be announced as the new Leader of Opposition in the Assembly.

Trust vote

On Saturday, as per the schedule released by the Legislature, the new pro tem Speaker will be announced in the House. He will then introduce the ministers.

Sena MLA Sunil Prabhu, NCP MLA Dhananjay Munde, and Congress MLAs Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan will put forward the resolution seeking a majority for the government through a vote.

Mr. Walse-Patil said, “We have sent the programme to the Governor, and as per the schedule, the trust vote will take place tomorrow (on Saturday).” Mr. Walse-Patil will monitor the floor test, which will be carried out via open voting and will be telecast live to ensure transparency.

The BJP, meanwhile, has criticised the move to change the pro tem Speaker ahead of the floor test.

BJP MLA Ashish Shelar said, “If the new government has a majority, what is the reason to change the pro tem Speaker? Why are they not trusting their own MLAs?”

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 4:56:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/congress-yet-to-reach-consensus-on-candidate-for-speakers-post/article30119801.ece

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