The post of Leader of Opposition has been lying vacant after former Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil defected to the BJP.(PTI File Photo)
The post of Leader of Opposition has been lying vacant after former Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil defected to the BJP.(PTI File Photo)

Opposition parties demands new leader of Maharashtra assembly

The ruling BJP-Shiv Sena has reportedly told the Opposition parties to ensure that the election to the post of deputy chairman in the Legislative Council is announced, if they want the post in the lower house.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUN 18, 2019 01:18 PM IST

Though the Opposition has been pressing for the appointment of a new Leader of Opposition (LoP ) in the Assembly, a post that has been lying vacant after former Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil defected to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the government is unlikely to oblige anytime soon.

The ruling BJP-Shiv Sena has reportedly told the Opposition parties to ensure that the election to the post of deputy chairman in the Legislative Council is announced, if they want the post in the lower house.

The post of deputy chairman in the council is lying vacant after the term of Congress’ Manikrao Thakre came to an end. The Opposition is wary of losing the post to the ruling party in the wake of its reduced strength over the past one year.

Vikhe Patil, who is now housing minister in the BJP-Sena government, had resigned as LoP in March after his son, Sujay, joined BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Accepting his resignation, Congress appointed its senior leader MLA Vijay Wadettiwar as group leader in the lower house by writing to the speaker of Assembly, Haribhau Bagde and CM Devendra Fadnavis.

When the demand was raised by the Congress immediately after the house proceedings resumed on the first day of the monsoon session, the speaker sought time for the appointment. “I am examining the proposal and other technicalities related to it. The decision will be taken at the appropriate time,” he said.

Senior Congress and NCP leaders held discussions with the speaker and CM over the issue.

“The CM has put a condition of the announcement of the election— which is the prerogative of the chairman of the council [senior NCP leader Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar] — if we want to install our LoP. There is a difference of only one member in strength between the Opposition and ruling parties after counting the support of Independents in the upper house. It’s an armtwisting tactic by the ruling parties,” said a Congress leader.

A BJP leader said, “Opposition has kept the post vacant for almost for a year... What is wrong if we treat them the way they have been doing with us.”

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