Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, considered as the architect of the unlikely Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance, comprising the NCP, Shiv Sena and Congress, said on Sunday that the next speaker of the Maharashtra legislative assembly will be from the Congress only. The post has been lying vacant since February when then-speaker, Nana Patole, was made the state Congress president.
“All three parties have decided that the new speaker will be from the Congress only. We will all support whatever the Congress decides about the speaker,” Pawar told media persons in Pune city’s Baramati district. Election for the post of the speaker was expected to take place during the special two-day monsoon session of the Maharashtra assembly, which took place on July 5 and 6. However, neither a meeting of the state cabinet, nor those among various leaders of the alliance, could arrive at a unanimous decision. According to reports, the Congress was keen to hold an election soon, but the NCP and Sena were not.
The election for the post of the speaker takes place via a secret vote.
As per the power-sharing pact among the three parties, Congress, the junior-most alliance member, was given the post of the speaker, while the NCP received several key portfolios, including home. Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray heads the alliance as the chief minister of Maharashtra.
The MVA was formed after the Sena, and its now former ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), split despite winning a second consecutive five-year term in late 2019. The chief minister’s post was a major bone of contention between the Thackeray-led party and the BJP.