Senior Congress leader Nana F Patole has been declared elected unopposed as the 14th Speaker of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly today as the BJP has withdrawn Kisan Kathore as the party’s nominee for the post.
Pro-Tem Speaker Dilip Walse-Patil made the announcement that was greeted with applause and thumping of desks by both the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi and the Opposition Maha Yuti alliances.
Congress MLA Patole was the sole candidate in the race and he was elected unopposed when the Assembly session began at 11 am. The election for the Speaker was to have been held today, a day after the ruling Sena-Congress-NCP alliance cleared the floor test conducted by pro-tem Speaker -NCP MLA Dilip Walse Patil.
Soon after Patole’s election was announced, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and other leaders of MVA congratulated him and recalled his glowing contributions as a parliamentarian and legislator in Maharashtra for over two decades.
The deadline to withdraw the nomination was 10 am on Sunday.
The Congress on Saturday announced party MLA Patole as the candidate of the ruling Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP alliance for the election to state Assembly Speaker’s post, while the BJP named Kathore as its nominee.
The 56-year-old Patole is a 4 time MLA and comes from the Sakoli Assembly constituency in Vidarbha. He contested from BJP ticket in the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections and won against NCP’s popular leader Praful Patel from the Bhandara-Gondiya seat but rebelled against the BJP in December 2017 and quit the party because of differences with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and came back to Congress fold as its Kisan Wing leader.
Patole’s nomination is seen as a move to reach out to the farmers’ community facing agrarian crisis in the state as well as maintaining the regional balance in the state giving representation to the Vidharba region, as many big wigs in the Congress and the NCP come from the Western Maharashtra.
Earlier, after a dramatic beginning of the first day of Maharashtra Assembly on Saturday, the newly formed alliance of Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP, Maha Vikas Aghadi, passed the floor test with total 169 votes in its favour.
The required number in the 288-seat Maharashtra Assembly is 145 to claim the majority. The floor test was done in absence of opposition as the BJP staged a walkout, terming the session as unconstitutional.