Maharashtra’s BJP-government nominates Shiv Sena members for deputy speaker, chairman posts
The move to nominate Shiv Sena members is seen as an attempt to woo the junior partner in the Maharashtra government. Ties between the two parties have been strained and the Sena has been critical of the BJP’s policies and central leadership.
In an attempt to pacify its bickering ally Shiv Sena, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government has decided to nominate Sena members to the posts of deputy speaker of the legislative Assembly and deputy chairman of the legislative Council. Elections for the two key posts in the state legislature are slated to be held on November 30, the last day of the winter session.
Senior Sena leaders said the nominees for the post were discussed between Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and revenue minister and senior BJP leader Chandrakant Patil. The minister met Thackeray on Tuesday evening at the latter’s home, Matoshree. “Uddhavji has decided the party’s nominees. Vijay Auti and Neelam Gorhe have been selected for the posts of deputy speaker and deputy chairman, respectively,” said a Sena leader.
Auti, 61, is a three-time MLA of the Sena from the Parner assembly constituency in Ahmednagar. He was first elected to the Assembly in 2004, and subsequently in 2009 and 2014. Gorhe, 64, has been elected to the Upper House three terms consecutively from 2002. Gorhe is a deputy leader in the party’s hierarchy and also the party spokesperson.
The move to nominate Sena members is seen as an attempt to woo the junior partner in the Maharashtra government. Ties between the two parties have been strained and the Sena has been critical of the BJP’s policies and central leadership.
“The nomination was discussed when Patil met Uddhavji earlier this week. We don’t see any harm in accepting the positions as they are constitutional posts. They are necessary to carry on with the proceedings in both the Houses,” said a Sena leader.
However, the legislative Assembly has been functioning without a deputy speaker since 2014. The ensuing election will be the first one after the longest gap of four years. Vasant Purke of the Congress was the last deputy speaker before 2014. He had held the post in the previous Assembly. Meanwhile, the post of deputy chairman is vacant after Manikrao Thakre resigned from the post in July days ahead of the end of his term as an MLC on July 27.