The Maha Vikas Aghadi government of Maharashtra abandoned plans to conduct the election to the post of Speaker, on the final day of the week-long Winter Session which ended here on Tuesday.
The move came amid speculation that Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had reportedly rejected the MVA’s plea to hold the elections through a voice vote instead of secret ballot.
The Governor is said to have indicated that the amendments in the rules to the effect were in violation of the Constitution, though the MVA leaders have contended that it was within the laws and the government’s jurisdiction.
Earlier on Tuesday, the MVA allies — Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress leaders met and decided not to pursue the issue to avoid yet another collision with the Raj Bhavan, besides the possible legal or Constitutional implications.
On the other hand, the Opposition BJP has stoutly opposed the amendments to the rules of holding the elections by voice vote instead of secret ballot on various grounds right from the beginning.
Addressing the media later, Congress state President Nana Patole said that it was the prerogative of the legislature to amend the rules and there was “nothing un-Constitutional about it”.
He said that the Governor should respect the Constitutional position that he holds and not indulge in politics, just as the government had taken “care to ensure that the gubernatorial post is not disrespected”.
He said that the MVA government had sent a letter informing the Governor about the entire process to be followed for elections to the post of Speaker.
“The entire election process could have been completed in one day, but on the last day (today) of the session, the Governor again sent a letter. To avoid any legal hassles, the MVA government avoided conducting the Speaker’s election and we have decided to hold it during the Budget Session in February,” Patole.
He pointed out how the Opposition BJP had issued threats of imposing President’s Rule in the state, but said that the MVA government is not scared of such “empty threats”.
“The BJP has deliberately created obstructions for the election of Speaker’s post through the Governor. The double-standards of BJP stand exposed. Since the MVA has a majority of 174 MLAs, the Opposition’s allegations on voice-voting are totally false,” Patole said.
Some leaders, including state BJP President Chandrakant Patil, have warned that if the government insisted on going ahead with the polls, it could lead to imposition of Central Rule in the state – a possibility that the MVA would not exactly relish.