No one is afraid of speaker’s election, assures Ajit Pawar
Photo by PTI

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, on Friday, said no one is afraid of holding elections to the speaker’s post, adding that the Maha Vikas Aghadi government will win the poll with a comfortable majority. He was responding to Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis’ jibe that the government was afraid of facing the election and that this is the first government that is scared about its own legislators.

“No one is scared of the speaker’s election. Whoever is running the government, they have to be ready to face any situation. If we were afraid of the election, then we would not have allowed the resignation of Nana Patole as the assembly speaker. Patole had met me and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and later submitted his resignation. Congress party high command informed the party's decision. Thereafter, Patole told us that he is stepping down and later resigned,” said Pawar.

Pawar, who is the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) group leader of the legislative party, said that the MVA government has the support of 170 legislators and it is fully prepared for the poll. "Today, we have the support of about 170 members of the legislative assembly (MLA) and are prepared to face the legislature during the ensuing budget session. There is a clear majority,” he opined.

Pawar’s statement came after Governor BS Koshyari had asked the state government to hold the speaker's election. However, the MVA partners have argued that it is the legislature’s prerogative to decide the poll schedule. The partners reminded the governor to soon clear the 12 names recommended by the state cabinet for their nomination in the legislative council.

Pawar also slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for issuing new deadlines for the collapse of the MVA government since it assumed power in November, 2019. “You may remember, since the beginning, there was a talk that this government will last for three months, it will last for six months, it will last for nine months, it will last for twelve months. However, at present, there is no threat to this government. The government is working very well under the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray. All three parties are working together,” he said.

Meanwhile, the MVA government has sought legal opinion on whether the speaker’s election can take place through voice vote and not through secret ballot. It is likely that the election may take place in the last week of the budget session. Till that time, Deputy Speaker Narahari Zirval and other presiding officers will chair the proceedings of the assembly.

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