Congress’ BalasahebThorat most senior in Maharashtra Assembly, but won’t make it to BJP’s list for Pro-tem Speaker
The Maharashtra Legislature has shortlisted names of the senior most legislators for the post of Pro-tem Speaker, who is likely to play an important role in the Assembly during the floor test of the Devendra Fadnavis government. Although Congress legislator Balasaheb Thorat is the senior most member of the House and could be eligible for the responsibility, he may not be picked.
A Pro-tem Speaker is appointed by the Governor from the three-four names recommended by the chief minister from the names suggested to him by the Legislature. Among the 288 members elected in the recently held elections, Thorat is the only one serving his eighth term. Nationalist Congress Party’s Dilip Walse-Patil, Jayant Patil, Ajit Pawar, Congress’ KC Padvi, BJP’s Kalidas Kolambkar and Babanrao Pachpute are serving their seventh term, while the Speaker of the previous Assembly and BJP leader Haribhau Bagde and NCP’s Chhagan Bhujbal and BJP’s Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil are serving their sixth term.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar were sworn in on Saturday, after which the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress moved the Supreme Court, seeking a floor test by the Pro-tem Speaker. The Fadnavis government is expected to recommend the names of its party’s MLAs. Of the 10 senior leaders, Kalidas Kolambkar, Babanrao Pachpute, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil and Haribhau Bagde could make it to the list.
“Although the Pro-tem Speaker has limited powers compared to the Speaker, the BJP government would prefer its own MLA to administer oaths to the newly-elected MLAs and hold the floor test. The Fadnavis government is expected to recommend the names of four MLAs and may want outgoing Speaker Haribhau Bagde to be appointed. Bagde was in the chair when the Fadnavis government passed its confidence motion by voice vote in 2014,” said an official from the state legislature.