Speculation rife over who could be appointed Maharashtra’s Pro-Tem Speaker
According to Parliamentary conventions, the senior most MLA is usually appointed a Pro-Tem Speaker, though there has been a departure in the past
The Vidhan Bhavan Secretary has reportedly submitted the names of three senior leaders of the Maharashtra Assembly to the Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari for selection of the Pro-Tem speaker. They are 67-year-old Congressman Balasaheb Thorat, 61-year-old Congressman KC Padavi and BJP’s Kalidas N Kolambkar.
According to Parliamentary conventions, the seniormost MLA is usually appointed a Pro-Tem Speaker, though there has been a departure in the past. The Governor will be required to appoint and swear-in the Pro-Tem Speaker, who, in turn, will administer the oath of office to all the newly-elected MLAs of the 14th Legislative Assembly.
Balasaheb Thorat, who has won eight consecutive terms, is also the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president. He has also been elected as the Congress legislative party leader. He has been associated with the milk cooperative movement in the state and has served as the minister of agriculture and revenue in the Maharashtra government. Thorat is known to be a grassroots leader and has been credited with building up the party’s reputation on the ground. His election affidavit states that he has ₹12 crore assets and he has no serious criminal cases against him.
Congressman Padavi, who represents the Akkalkuva (ST) Assembly Constituency, has less than ₹5 crores as assets.
BJP’s Kolambkar is an eight-term member of the Maharashtra Assembly. He was a Congressman until July 2019, when he resigned the party to join the BJP. This is not the first time he switched his allegiance. Before joining Congress, he was with the Shiv Sena.
In another setback to BJP in Maharashtra, the Vidhan Bhavan confirmed that they have received the letter stating that Jayant R Patil is the legislative leader of NCP. He was appointed as legislative leader of NCP instead of Ajit Pawar, who ditched his uncle Sharad Pawar to join hands with the BJP.
Earlier, NCP had appointed Ajit Pawar as the legislative leader but it was not communicated to the secretary of the Vidhan Sabha. According to rules, the legislative leader Jayant Patil has the right of issuing the whip in the House. So, even Ajit Pawar has to obey the whip and if he doesn’t he will face disciplinary action.
It must be recalled that in 2014, the senior-most nine-time elected MLA Sangole (Solapur), Ganpatrao Deshmukh of the Peasants & Workers Party had declined the honour on health grounds. Instead, Jiva Pandu Gavit, a seven-time MLA of the CPI(M), was appointed Pro-Tem Speaker and conducted the oath of all the members. This time, however, Gavit lost the elections and Deshmukh did not contest.