Nationalist Congress Party leader Dilip Walse-Patil filed his nomination for the Assembly Speaker’s post on Tuesday even as his party
colleague and former Speaker Babasaheb Kupekar revolted against the party for denying him another term in that post.
Traditionally, but not compulsorily, the ruling party keeps the Speaker’s post for itself, and the Opposition gets the deputy Speaker’s post. This happens without elections, by consensus.
This time, that didn’t happen, after the Congress-NCP refused to give the deputy Speaker’s post to the Sena-BJP.
As a result, Wednesday will see an election for the Speaker’s position, with the Opposition fielding its candidate, BJP legislator from Pune, Girish Bapat.
While the election for deputy Speaker will be held during next month’s winter session at Nagpur, the Congress is expected to keep that post for itself.
Walse-Patil will be the Democratic Front’s official candidate — and with the support of 170 of the total 288 elected representatives, his victory is assured. An upset Kupekar justified his revolt and did not take the oath of office.
He told media he had expected the NCP high command (Sharad Pawar) to give him a respectable position in the government or legislature.
“But I have realised the party does not need me any longer. So I will quit as MLA and contest the by-poll (from Chandgad in Kolhapur district) as an Independent.”
Senior NCP leaders authorised to speak to the media refused comment, but said the party has not made any effort to pacify Kupekar.
“Such things happen in any party when expectations are not fulfilled.”