Even as the Maharashtra government plans to hold the election for Assembly Speaker on Tuesday, a delegation of MVA ministers called on Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and urged to him approve the election programme recommended by the state cabinet for the Speaker’s post.
The MVA leaders said after the meeting that they were hopeful the governor would approve the election programme.
Sources said the cabinet on Friday decided to hold the Speaker’s election on December 28, and this was communicated to the governor accordingly. The governor has to notify the election programme for the Speaker’s post, after which the election will be held, sources said.
The Speaker’s post fell vacant in February after the then Speaker Nana Patole tendered his resignation. Subsequently, Patole was appointed state president of the Congress.
“The programme for the election of the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly has been given with recommendation of the CM to the Governor. We met him requesting to announce the election programme tomorrow,” said minister Balasaheb Thorat of the Congress, speaking to mediapersons after meeting the governor. He was accompanied by Shiv Sena Minister Eknath Shinde and NCP Minister Chhagan Bhujbal.
The meeting comes days after the rules committee of the Assembly amended the election process of the Speaker through voice vote instead of secret ballot. The opposition had objected to it, calling the MVA government the “most insecure government”.
Thorat said the governor did not ask much about the changes in the election process for the Speaker. “The changes in the rules have been made on the lines of rules in the Lok Sabha and Legislative Council. So we haven’t done anything wrong. The governor wants to study it and consult some people and then he said he will inform (us). We are sure the governor will approve this programme,” he added.
Thorat also said that the name for the Speaker’s post has not been finalised by the Congress leadership. However, senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan, who reached Delhi on Sunday to meet the party high command, has emerged as a frontrunner for the post. Another name doing the round is Sangram Thopate, sources said.
Shinde said the delegation gave the letter sent by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in response to the Governor’s earlier letter requesting the government to hold the election for the Speaker’s post. “As per the rules, we have demanded that this election be held in the next two days. The governor appeared to be positive about it. He said he will discuss the matter legally and inform the decision tomorrow,” he added.
In July, the Governor had written a letter to the CM, referring to the demands of a BJP delegation led by Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis asking to take immediate steps to fill the Speaker’s post and other issues. In response, Thackeray had stated that there is no specific time frame to hold the election for the Assembly Speaker and the election would be held at an appropriate time.
Besides, the governor has not yet taken a decision on the list of 12 names, recommended by the state cabinet, to be nominated to the Upper House of the legislature through the Governor quota. The list was handed over to the governor by a delegation of MVA ministers on November 6, 2020.