In less than 48 hours after pledging to work together in the ongoing budget session, Congress and NCP on Tuesday engaged in a bitter fight over appointment of chairman of the state legislative council. The NCP has threatened to pursue no confidence motion to remove the chairman and senior Congress leader Shivajirao Deshmukh.
The no confidence against Deshmukh was moved in winter session held at Nagpur in December. Now, NCP had the option to withdraw the same in the budget session or put the same for voting in the state council.
The Congress and NCP have been at loggerheards for last three months over chairmanship of state legislative council. The state NCP chief Sunil Tatkare told Indian Express, “Ideally, the chairmanship of the state council should come to us. But, Congress is insisting to retain its candidate Shivajirao Deshmukh.”
Tatkare said, “ Ideally, sensing the mood in the political circles the Congress should have averted such a situation. But why should they always expect NCP to accommodate their concerns.”
According to leader of opposition in state assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, “ If the NCP pursues the no confidence against Deshmukh, it would be unfortunate.”
Of the total 78 MLCs in the upper house (state council), NCP has 28 MLCs. The strength required to win the vote of confidence is 40 MLCs. In a candid admission, NCP leaders said, “ Yes, we are going to put the no confidence motion against chairman to vote. It is for the individual parties to decide whom they would want to support.”
According to leader of the opposition in state assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, “ On the issue of council chairmanship NCP will have to evolve the strategy. Arguing, if they seek the support of BJP and Shiv Sena to win the vote trust facilitating the removal of Deshmukh, it would expose their nexus with the ruling parties.”
However, mood in the NCP was to teach the Congress a lesson. As one of the senior NCP leaders said, “ After the 2014 assembly elections we had decided that decisions regarding leader of opposition in state assembly, council and chairmanship of council should be determined on party’s strength.”
Accordingly, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil became the opposition leader in assembly (Congress) and Dhananjay Munde (NCP) opposition leader in council last December. But, Congress refused to yield to NCP’s pressure to pave the appointment of their party candidate for chairmanship in council.