Maharashtra: With help from BJP, NCP ousts Council chairman

The NCP’s no-trust motion against Deshmukh was approved amid high political drama.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | Updated: March 17, 2015 5:11 am

The Maharashtra Legislative Council witnessed strange scenes Monday, with the ruling BJP joining hands with the Opposition Nationalist Congress Party to oust chairman of the House, Shivajirao Deshmukh, who belongs to Congress. While the political leadership of both parties made light of the new political arrangement in Maharashtra, it has once again fuelled speculation about the Sharad Pawar-led party joining the BJP-led NDA.

The NCP’s no-trust motion against Deshmukh was approved amid high political drama, with the Shiv Sena, BJP’s ally in the government, baking the Congress saying the motion was “unconstitutional and illegal”.

Shiv Sena’s Ramdas Kadam, a cabinet minister in the BJP-led state government, who spoke for the party during the discussion on the motion, even fired barbs at the BJP’s top leadership while terming the proposal as a “murder of democracy”.

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The party eventually abstained from voting on the motion, much as it had done during the discussion of the contentious new land Bill in Parliament earlier this month.

The 78-member strong Legislative Council approved the motion after a four-hour long discussion, with 45 members voting for it. The NCP required at least 40 votes for the motion’s passage.

Deputy Chairman Vasant Davkhare declared the motion as approved after it became clear that the Congress had managed to muster support of just 22 legislators against the motion.

Aware that it did not have the required numbers to defeat the motion, the Congress leveraged it to expose the “understanding” between its estranged ally, the NCP, and the BJP. “The immoral pact between you two (the NCP and the BJP) now stands exposed and is for all to see.
It is clear that the NCP is not in opposition to the government,” Thakre, who represented the Congress in the discussion, said.

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