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Updated on: Tuesday, December 28, 2021, 11:05 PM IST

Maharashtra: MVA govt puts off Speaker’s poll to avoid further conflict with Governor BS Koshyari

Governor BS Koshyari | Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray
 | PTI

Governor BS Koshyari | Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray | PTI

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Finally, the suspense is over. The Shiv Sena led Maha Vikas Aghadi government, in a bid to avoid conflict and confrontation with the Governor BS Koshyari and later attract imposition of the President’s Rule, on Tuesday deferred holding the assembly Speaker’s election. Today was the last day of the five day winter session. The government’s decision came a day after the Governor did not approve its proposal to hold Speaker’s election through voice vote instead of secret ballot saying it was in violation of the Constitution. It is likely that the Speaker’s election will take place in the budget session.

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

The ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi partners- Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress- which were in a mood to take on Governor until Tuesday morning decided to step one step backward after NCP Chief Sharad Pawar spoke to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who is recovering from spine surgery, not to make an ego issue but postpone the election to avoid legal and constitutional crisis. The MVA ministers including the Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Chhagan Bhujbal, Jayant Patil, Dilip Walse-Patil (NCP), Subhash Desai and Eknath Shinde (Shiv Sena) and Balasaheb Thorat, Sunil Kedar (Congress) met and decided not to proceed with the Speaker’s election which was not even listed in today’s assembly proceedings.

The state government on Monday had sent a third letter urging the Governor to clear its proposal. The government had strongly justified the amendments in 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.

The government had said if the Governor did not reply, it would be considered as his consent.

‘’NCP chief Sharad Pawar clearly conveyed that if the government will go ahead with conducting the poll without the Governor’s consent it may further increase conflict between the two and it may lead to legal and judicial disputes. It was also discussed that the government’s move may invite the Governor recommending the imposition of President’s Rule for the collapse of the legislative framework,’’ said a senior MVA minister. He admitted that the tension between the Governor and the state government was rising as the Governor despite repeated requests and high court’s scathing observation, had not cleared the nomination of 12 members in the state council from his quota.

Further, the Governor had objected to the state government’s decision not to reopen temples. Koshyari had written a sarcasm-filled letter calling the chief minister a "votary of Hindutva who had turned secular.’’ Thackeray strongly retorted the Governor's statement saying that he did not need a “certificate” of Hindutva from him.

BJP has strongly opposed the amendments to the rules and Speaker’s election through voice vote especially when the party's 12 legislators were suspended for a year. The suspended legislators on Monday had submitted a letter to the Governor against the government’s move to hold the Speaker's election.

Meanwhile, the state Congress chief Nana Patole alleged that the BJP had obstructed the Speaker’s election through the Governor’s office. ‘’It is the prerogative of the legislature to change the rules, there is nothing unconstitutional about it. The Governor should respect the constitutional position and not indulge in politics,’’ said Patole.

On the other hand, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Tuesday morning said the Governor is not appointed to reject the rights of the legislature and government’s recommendations. In sarcastic remarks, Raut also said the Maharashtra Governor seemed too studious and this could cause him “indigestion”.

‘’If the governor is acting contradictory to his constitutional duties, then the state will have to take some political steps as well, said Raut.

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Published on: Tuesday, December 28, 2021, 10:51 PM IST
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