Even though the Maha Vikas Aghadi government claims it has the support of 171 legislators in the legislative assembly, it faces an acid test during the elections to assembly Speaker. The election is necessitated following the resignation of Nana Patole. Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress will have to keep their flock together and also ensure that the independents keep supporting the government.
BJP with 105 legislators with the support of 11 independents is determined to take advantage of internal contradictions among the ruling partners and woo some of the legislators.
On the other hand, MVA partners Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress hope to lure the disgruntled legislators from BJP fold during the speaker’s election which will take place during the budget session beginning March 1.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will not only have to focus on legislators of Shiv Sena but will have to ensure support of NCP and Congress legislators, independents and small parties to avoid defeat or even division in votes. Thackeray, his deputy Ajit Pawar and the outgoing president of the state Congress have predicted smooth sailing saying that they together will foil BJP’s desperate attempts to split the votes.
Days after his statement that speakers’ post is now open for all three ruling partners, NCP Chief Sharad Pawar, who is MVA’s architect, on Saturday clarified that the Congress will retain the speaker’s post. His statement comes after Thackeray and DCM were upset over the Congress party’s decision asking Patole to step down. However, Pawar has hinted that the Congress should not take the support of NCP and Shiv Sena for granted as it will have to discuss the name of party nominee for the speaker’s post and arrive at unanimity.
The names of Congress legislators Suresh Warpudkar, Sangram Thopte and Amin Patel are doing rounds for the speaker’s post. However, Congress has yet to take a call.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut admitted that the speaker’s post is a constitutional one and it was for a five-year term. ‘’The fresh election is inevitable after the resignation. It is a coalition government which has a majority in the assembly. Still, such things should be avoided,’’ he opined.