Member of the legislative council and spokesperson of the Shiv Sena (UBT) Manisha Kayande on Sunday switched over to the Shinde faction. The feat might affect the Shiv Sena (UBT) and its Ambadas Danve might have to lose the post of leader of opposition in the upper house of Maharashtra legislature.
After Kayande’s exit, the Shiv Sena (UBT) is left with just nine members in the upper house. Its ally Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) too has the same number of MLCs in the house, which has led to speculations whether the NCP will stake claim for the post.
NCP MLC Amol Mitkari and Deputy Speaker of the lower house of the state legislature Narhari Zirwal, who also is an NCP MLA, have both opined that it is natural for any party in opposition which has more numbers to stake claim on the post of leader of opposition and hence the party would certainly go for it.
Raut calls for "alliance ethics"
Shiv Sena (UBT) spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut, however, said, “The NCP won’t stake claim for the post of leader of opposition as we are in an alliance and they will live up to the alliance ethics.”
When asked about it, leader of opposition in the legislative assembly and senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar said, “The party hasn’t pondered over the issue yet,” and jokingly added, “Since the journalists are curious about it, we shall now think over it.”
He also indicated that, while in alliance sometimes the smaller party too can enjoy such posts. “After 2014 election, we had 41 MLAs and the Congress had 42. Three PWP members had lent support to us. Which means, our numbers went to 44. However, the then speaker Haribhau Bagde had said that he shall grant the post to the leader of the largest party and the Congress enjoyed the post for five years,” Pawar said.
21 vacancies in upper house
The upper house of the state legislature currently has 21 vacancies. The BJP is the largest party in the upper house with 22 members, while its ally Shiv Sena (Shinde faction) has two members including Manisha Kayande. The NCP and the Shiv Sena (UBT) have nine members each while the Congress has eight members. The independents and others have seven members in the house.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena (UBT) spokesperson Raut claimed that Kayande switched loyalty owing to an alleged corruption of ₹40 crore. “I heard yesterday that some file of ₹40 crore has come out,” he said and added, “I don’t know about it and hence I won’t speak about it.”
Kayande claimed that she left the party because some juniors were being given prominence in the party which made it difficult to work freely in the party. “I tried to raise the issue on party forums, but were ignored,” she said.