While the Congress has given in to its alliance partner Nationalist Congress Party’s demand for the removal of Congress’ Shivajirao Deshmukh from the post of the chairman of the Maharashtra legislative council, it may seek the deputy chairman’s post that is currently held by the NCP in return.
During the winter session of the legislature, the Congress — which has one elected member more than the NCP in the assembly — had staked claim to the post of the Opposition leader. Looking at its reluctance to ask Deshmukh to now step down from the post, the NCP moved a no-trust motion against him on Wednesday.
Speculation is rife that the BJP has supported the NCP’s move. The NCP, which has 28 members in the council, will need the support of 40 or more members to pass the motion.
With the Congress and Shiv Sena likely to oppose the move, it is speculated the BJP with its 12 members may step in, a sign of growing proximity between the two parties. To avoid any embarrassment, the Congress has now softened its stand.
“Our party is ready to sort out the matter with the NCP and find a way out. The party wants Deshmukh to continue, but if the NCP presses, the Congress may agree to it. But we want the post of the deputy chairman,” said newly-appointed state Congress president Ashok Chavan, during his first visit to Nagpur after taking charge, on Saturday.