Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker’s election expected to be held during budget session

Sanjay JogUpdated: Wednesday, February 16, 2022, 07:32 PM IST
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Maharashtra Legislative Assembly (vidhan Bhavan) | File

Finally, the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker’s election will be held during the budget session of the state legislature beginning March 3 in Mumbai. The Maha Vikas Aghadi government proposes to conduct the elections before the presentation of the annual budget for 2020-23 slated for March 11. The election was put off on December 28 after the Governor BS Koshyari did not approve the MVA’s proposal to hold the Speaker's election through voice vote instead of secret ballot saying it was in violation of the Constitution.

A senior MVA Minister told the Free Press Journal, ‘’The state cabinet, which approved the Governor’s address to the joint session of the state legislature on March 3 and the duration of the budget session, discussed conducting the Speaker’s election. To avoid any confrontation, it was decided that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will write a letter to the Governor about the state government’s move to conduct Speaker’s election.’’ He said that as per the arrangement worked out by the MVA partners at the time of government formation, the Speaker's post is with the Congress party.

The Speaker’s post has been lying vacant for over 10 months after the incumbent Nana Patole resigned and took over as the state Congress chief.

As reported by the Free Press Journal, the state government had passed the resolution in the winter session amending the assembly rules to hold the Speaker’s election through voice vote instead of secret ballot. The government had claimed that it was done within the powers enjoyed by the legislature. The government had also communicated that the Governor cannot hold scrutiny of the rules amended by the legislature and prolong the Speaker’s election.

However, Governor did not give his consent that forced the MVA government to put off the Speaker’s election slated for December 28, 2021, as the senior leaders feared that going ahead with the election may invite the Governor recommending the imposition of President’s Rule for the collapse of the legislative framework. The opposition BJP had accused the MVA of running the “most insecure government” that does not trust its MLAs and fears there would be cross-voting in the election of the Speaker. The Opposition also argued that the rules cannot be amended in the absence of the Speaker.

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