There are no takers for the Assembly speaker’s job because all senior BJP legislators want to be part of chief minister-elect Devendra Fadnavis’ Cabinet, which will take oath on Friday. After Eknath Khadse and senior legislator Girish Bapat declined the post, OBC leaders Haribhau Jawle and Haribhau Bagde are now being considered for it.
The Shiv Sena, which is willing to join the BJP-led government, has also asked for the speaker’s post in exchange for support. The BJP, however, is unwilling to oblige its ex-ally. The post of deputy speaker will also go to a BJP legislator. The final decision will be declared in the interim session of the legislature to be held between October 4 and 6.
The speaker’s job is seen as an office without any significant powers though it gives good perks to the person in charge.
The BJP’s first choice was Khadse, but the senior leader from north Maharashtra demanded a berth in the Cabinet. Khadse has been claiming he is a natural claimant for the CM’s job because he was an Opposition leader for the past five years.
The party then asked Bapat because of his experience as presiding officer in the past three houses. He said he would not settle for anything less than a Cabinet berth. “If you don’t make me a minister, I’m ready to sit in the house only as an MLA,” he told his party bosses on Tuesday.