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Tuesday, Oct 04, 2022

Maharashtra floor test | Ashok Chavan among 11 absent Congress MLAs: ‘We got stuck in traffic’

While the MVA had polled 107 votes on Sunday during the Speaker’s election, the alliance’s tally fell to 99 on Monday.

Former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan (File)

The failure of 11 Congress MLAs, including former CM Ashok Chavan, to cast their vote in the floor test held on Monday led to raised eyebrows within the party with senior leaders raising concern and questioning their “recklessness” and “casual behaviour”.

While the MVA had polled 107 votes on Sunday during the Speaker’s election, the alliance’s tally fell to 99 on Monday.

Other than Chavan, those who did not cast their vote include Pranati Shinde, Jitesh Antapurkar, Vijay Waddetiwar, Zeeshan Siddiqui, Dheeraj Deshmukh, Kunal Patil, Raju Awale, Mohan Hambarde, Shirish Chaudhari and Madhavrao Javalgaonkar.

Even as their absence triggered a buzz that some of them might be “in touch with other parties”, a senior Congress leader in Maharashtra said: “The casual behaviour by this group of MLAs is very shocking. It shows their recklessness.”

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AICC secretary in-charge of Maharashtra H K Patil said: “Eight MLAs came late and waited in the lobby. There is no political significance. They may have been caught in rain and traffic. Sometimes, there are unavoidable reasons.”

Chavan said: “We were late by two or three minutes. They closed the gates. There is no foul play. We were stuck in traffic.”

Another senior Congress leader blamed “lack of preparation”. “Our structured whip and meetings did not happen and that could be one reason for members not being serious. There was no strategy in place, and no one coordinating and monitoring the presence of members,” he said.

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Siddiqui, the Bandra MLA, said: “There was some confusion and we thought that first there would be debate and then voting… but voting started first. There was no CLP meeting and we were asked to reach at 11. Because of traffic I reached five minutes late and we were in the lobby. We sent a note to the Speaker to allow us in as voting had not started but we did not get any response.”

MPCC working president Praniti Shinde, who is the daughter of ex-CM Sushilkumar Shinde, said: “I was not available. I had work and informed the party about my absence.”

In the House, meanwhile, BJP leader and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis thanked all the MLAs “who were absent” and thereby “helped” his side “increase the margin of victory”.

First published on: 05-07-2022 at 04:35:20 am
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