Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari
Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari

Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari’s letter to the Maharashtra State Legislature Secretariat directing that election to the post of Speaker should be held in the Budget Session has led to a war of words between the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government and opposition. Koshyari’s letter came days after Nana Patole resigned from the Speaker’s post and the budget session is going to start from March 1.

Koshyari’s move follows after he was unceremoniously grounded from the state plane after the government denied permission for travelling to Uttarakhand. The law and judiciary secretary, who is also the state legislature secretary, has informed the cabinet about the enquiry made by the Raj Bhavan regarding the Speaker's election.

The legislative affairs minister and Shiv Sena leader Anil Parab said the Maha Vikas Aghadi government comprising Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress is not all scared and it is quite confident to win the Speaker’s election. ‘’ The decision on Speaker’s election will be taken during the budget session,’’ he noted. MVA has claimed the support of 170 legislators in the 288-member legislative assembly.

However, the Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis took a swipe at the MVA government saying that this is the first government that is scared about its own legislators. "Despite claiming a majority, why the MVA government is scared to face the Speaker’s election. As per the norms, the Governor sends the dates in advance for Speaker’s election which takes place through a secret ballot. The government has fear of loss of election so it is great entertainment for us,’’ he taunted.

However, Parab countered Fadnavis jibe saying that the MVA government was not all scared about Speaker’s election. ‘’Who voted for what the numbers will be out after the election. Wait for few days. Who is scared and who is not will be known,’’ he said in his reply to Fadnavis’ charge.

Parab said, "The government has received Koshyari’s letter and it also wants that Speaker’s post be filled up. The file pertaining to the nomination of 12 names in the state legislative council is pending for a long with the Governor.’’

"Let us hope Governor will take the decision before the budget session,’’ he added.

Meanwhile, MVA sources said Tribal Development Minister KC Padvi may resign from the cabinet and can be the Congress candidate for the Speaker’s post. Other names which are doing the rounds include Suresh Warpudkar, Sangram Thopte, and Amit Patil (all Congress). The Congress party has yet to take a call. However, the Shiv Sena and NCP are unanimous that Congress will retain the Speaker’s post.

MVA is also exploring another option whereby the deputy speaker Narhari Zirval along with other presiding officers will conduct the assembly proceedings. The Speaker’s election can be held later.

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