Updated: September 3, 2021 7:22:54 pm
Former MP and farmer leader Raju Shetti on Friday said his nomination to the Maharashtra Legislative Council was “not promised, but decided” between him and NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
“There was no promise made… it was decided between Sharad Pawar and I,” said Shetti while expressing his anger over the possibility of his name being dropped.
Shetti’s reaction came after Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Thursday indicated that his name had been dropped from the list of 12 names recommended last year by the state cabinet to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.
“New information has come to the fore that those who have lost an election are not appointed to the upper house of the state legislature. We are verifying this new information. If there is an issue, then the chief minister will take a decision on it,” said Pawar.
Shetti had lost the 2019 Lok Sabha election from Hatkanangle seat in Kolhapur district.
The farmer leader, however, said, “I don’t know if they have decided to drop my name because of the agitations I have been leading. No one from the NCP has told me anything about this. I want to emphasise that there was no promise made but a decision was taken by the NCP chief about nominating me…”.
When contacted, NCP spokesperson Umesh Patil said, “Party leaders will take a final decision as to who should be dropped and who should be included. I can’t comment on whether we have dropped a name…”.
During the tenure of the BJP-Shiv Sena government in Maharashtra, Shetti was with the saffron regime. He later parted ways with them and joined hands with the NCP-Congress alliance. In the run-up to the 2019 state assembly elections, he had made certain seat adjustments on the request of the NCP chief and in return, he was reportedly promised that he would be given a prominent seat if the Congress-NCP alliance came to power, said his close aides.
Constitutional expert Ulhas Bapat, however, said there is no law which prevents a person who has lost an election to be nominated to the state Legislative Council. “According to the Constitution, the governor has to nominate members recommended by the state cabinet to the state Legislative Council. The governor has to act on the advice of the council of ministers. He has no right to create hurdles or delay the nominations once the state cabinet recommends the names to him. If he delays or seeks to create hurdles, it amounts to Constitutional fraud,” Bapat said while pointing out that BJP leader Arun Jaitley, who had lost in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, was nominated to the Rajya Sabha.
Bapat also pointed out that under Article 171 of the Constitution, the governor should nominate one-sixth of the members of the state Legislative Council from among experts from different fields, including arts and science. “… They should be nominated to the council and these nominations have to be done by the state cabinet.”
He said while the governor has certain discretionary powers “…he has not been given the power to sit on nominations of the members recommended by the state cabinet. In this case, he has clearly violated the Constitution by indefinitely delaying a decision on nominating the members,” said Bapat.
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