The Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has made it clear that it will stake claim on the post of chairman and leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council.
The party has the most members in the upper house of the legislature and plans to occupy both positions with the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Sunil Tatkare, state unit chief of the NCP, said on Thursday the party will stake claim once the winter session starts on December 8 in Nagpur.
He, however, said they had not decided whether they will move a no confidence motion against incumbent chairman and Congress leader Shivajirao Deshmukh.
Tatkare said being the party with the highest number of members in the council it was their right to claim the posts. “We have 27 members in the 78-member council. We are the natural claimant for both posts,” he said.
The NCP is hoping that the BJP, which has nine members, will support it, as the party supported the party in the Assembly. The Congress has only 21 members.
Congress leaders claimed there was no provision of dislodging the chairman before completion of the term. “We have been following the British parliamentary system, in which you can’t dislodge the chairman. If the NCP decides to move a no confidence motion against Deshmukh, it will set a bad precedent in parliamentary affairs,” said Congress spokesperson and member of council Anant Gadgil.
Meanwhile, the NCP has convened a review meeting over the weekend of newly-elected MLAs and the defeated candidates to take stock of the political situation.