Maha Speaker election: MVA, Governor on collision course

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Maharashtra’s Maha Vikas Aghadi government led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari again appeared to be at loggerheads – this time on the issue of election to the post of the Assembly Speaker.

The MVA government has written three letters to the Governor seeking his approval for conducting the Speaker’s elections by a voice-vote or show of hands instead of secret ballot.

However, MVA leaders say that there has been no clear response yet from the Governor’s side even as the government mulls conducting the polls on Tuesday – the final day of the ongoing week-long Winter Session of the Legislature.

Unofficially, MVA leaders hint that the Governor is reportedly disinclined over the proposal, but has sought legal opinion and will study it before giving his decision.

Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party state President Chandrakant Patil warned that the issue could lead to the imposition of President’ Rule in the state.

Simultaneously, Thackeray chaired a meeting of the state cabinet and the government has taken the opinion of the state Advocate-General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni on the issue.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena MP and chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut said that what matters in a democracy is “listening to the voice of the people”.

“As per the Constitution, the Governor has to abide by the recommendations of the state Cabinet,” a grim Raut told media persons.

Similarly, state Congress President Nana Patole said that the decision to conduct the elections by voice vote in not “unconstitutional” and said the government plans to hold the polls on Tuesday itself.

He added that the legislature has the power to amend the rules and accordingly, the rules for conducting the election to the Speaker’s post were amended, and the process is on the lines of the Lok Sabha and in other states.

Patole accused the opposition BJP of pursuing its hidden agenda and creating obstacles for the MVA government by keeping the Governor in the front.

The MVA has sent 3 letters to the Governor – the first one on Friday, following by a second letter handed over by a 3-ministerial delegation, and the third one handed on Monday on the issue.

At the Sunday meeting, Koshyari sought details of the amendments to the legislative rules and assured he would seek more details, take the views of legal experts before conveying his decision by today.

The post has been lying vacant since Feb this year after Patole resigned following his appointment as state party President, and the fort was being held by Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal.

20211227-202002

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