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Thursday, August 05, 2021

Maharashtra: ‘Consensus among MVA allies’, Speaker’s election unlikely

A decision to not hold the election to the Speaker’s post was taken during a meeting of senior ministers of the MVA government Thursday, A cabinet minister said.

Written by Vishwas Waghmode | Mumbai |
Updated: July 3, 2021 6:58:48 am
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. (File Photo)

The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government is unlikely to hold an election to the post of Assembly Speaker in the two-day Monsoon Session of the state legislature that will commence Monday. A decision to not hold the election to the Speaker’s post was taken during a meeting of senior ministers of the MVA government Thursday, A cabinet minister said.

“The BJP is playing politics through the Governor’s office and insisting on the Speaker’s election. So, it has been decided not to succumb to the BJP’s pressure politics. So, the election for the post will not be held in the Monsoon Session,” the minister, who did not wish to be named, told The Indian Express.

Earlier this week, referring to the demands of the BJP delegation led by Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, through a letter, had asked Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to “take immediate steps to fill up the Assembly Speaker’s post” among others. Koshyari had also asked the CM to keep him informed about it.

On Friday, Thackeray, too, dropped hints that the election to the post may be deferred further. In a letter to the Governor, the CM said, “The Assembly Speaker’s election is held as per Article 178 of the Constitution and Rule 6 of the Maharashtra Assembly Rules. However, there is no specific time frame that has been fixed for it.”

The absence of the election for the Speaker’s post, the CM said, has neither violated any constitutional provision nor created any constitutional problem. He also said the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly will be elected “at an appropriate time” by fulfilling all the rules of the state legislature.

The talks of the Speaker’s election had gained momentum after the state Congress president Nana Patole held a meeting with the party’s leadership in Delhi last week.

The election to the post has been necessitated following Patole’s resignation as the Speaker in February. Currently, Narhari Zirwal, the Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, has been given the charge of the Speaker and the Budget Session of the state legislature was presided by him.

Sources said the chief minister was not in favour of holding the election during the Monsoon Session because of the pandemic. Patole’s resignation from the post without prior information had irked both Thackeray and NCP chief Sharad Pawar. But it was planned to hold the election on the Congress’s insistence, sources said.

As per the power-sharing arrangement between the MVA allies, the Speaker’s post has been allotted to Congress and, in all likelihood, will be retained by the party’s nominee.

Stating that a consensus has been reached at the state level among all the constituents of the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance to not hold the elections at this point of time, the cabinet minister said there was it could be held only if the Congress’s central leadership insisted.

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