New Maha Assembly Speaker to be from Congress; No Discord in Allies Over Post: Nana Patole

Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole on Friday said the new speaker of the state assembly will be from his party and asserted there were no differences among the ruling MVA allies over the post lying vacant since February. Talking to reporters here, Patole said the Shiv Sena-led MVA government wants the speaker’s election to be held during the two-day monsoon session of the state legislature beginning here from July 5, but a final decision will depend on coronavirus test results of MLAs (mandatory for attending house proceedings).

The Congress and the NCP are the other two constituents of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA).”The BJP is trying to play politics over the issue by using the Governor’s office. We don’t care about such tactics. The final decision (on Speaker’s election) will be made after coronavirus test results of all MLAs are received. We support the stand taken by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in his reply to the Governor’s letter,” Patole said.

Thackeray on Friday wrote a letter to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, in which he defended the government’s decision of holding the monsoon session of the legislature only for two days, saying the duration cannot be extended in view of the prevailing coronavirus situation.The CM also appeared non-committal on holding the assembly speaker’s election during the brief session, saying there was no time-frame for it.

Patole said the new speaker will be from the Congress party. “We will seek views from our legislators and convey their sentiment to the high command. All the three allies trust their legislators and there is no truth in the opposition charge that the ruling alliance parties have issued a whip out of fear that their numbers on the floor of the house would come down,” the Congress leader said.

The speaker’s post fell vacant in February after Patole resigned to take over as the state Congress president. Patole said the Congress was of the view that the state’s proposed amendments to the new agriculture laws enacted by the Centre shouldn’t be carried out in a haste.

“The MVA is of the view that the interest of farmers should remain paramount while preparing a foolproof law. The central farm laws will not be implemented in Maharashtra. The state will have its own law. The draft will be put before people and farmers for their views and suggestions,” he said.Asked about the Maratha reservation issue, Patole said with the Supreme Court rejecting a review petition of the Union government, it is now clear the ball is in the Centre’s court to restore quota in jobs and education for the community.

The Supreme Court has dismissed the Centre’s plea seeking a review of the May 5 majority verdict which held that 102nd Constitution amendment took away states’ power to declare Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) for grant of quota in jobs and admissions.The 102nd Constitution amendment Act of 2018 inserted Articles 338B, which deals with the structure, duties and powers of the NCBC, while 342A deals with power of the President to notify a particular caste as SEBC and power of Parliament to change the list.

“The Modi government has taken away the right of states through the 102nd amendment (to declare a community backward). Due to this, the (2018) quota law passed unanimously during the tenure of (former BJP CM) Devendra Fadnavis couldn’t get approval from the Supreme Court.”The BJP is guilty of misleading the state legislature and the Maratha community,” Patole said, hitting out at the opposition party in Maharashtra.

He accused the central government of using the ED and the CBI to instill fear among parties opposed to the BJP. “But we don’t fear them,” Patole asserted.

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