Leaders of the opposition Congress and NCP met Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao here in the evening and submitted a memorandum seeking his intervention into the matter.
Hitting out at the Maharashtra government and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for getting the motion of confidence in Speaker passed in the Assembly, Opposition Congress-NCP today said the incident was a “blot” on the democracy and an attempt to suppress dissent. Leaders of the opposition Congress and NCP met Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao here in the evening and submitted a memorandum seeking his intervention into the matter. Outmanoeuvring the opposition, which had given a notice of no-confidence against Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagde, Fadnavis today moved a motion of confidence in the Chair, which the lower house passed by a voice vote.
The opposition had submitted a notice of no-confidence against the speaker on March 5 alleging that he was conducting the proceedings in a biased manner. In the memorandum given to the governor, the opposition parties said Fadnavis’s trust vote in favour of Bagde had no connection with their no-confidence notice against the latter. The delegation comprised Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, former CM Prithviraj Chavan, NCP leaders Jayant Patil, Dilip Walse Patil and others.
They said Fadnavis had moved a trust vote when the issue was not even listed on the day’s agenda, which violated the legislature norms. “When the opposition members objected, Fadnavis gave an example of a trust vote in the council of ministers moved by the then chief minister late Vilasrao Deshmukh. This was nothing but misleading the House. “The example given by Fadnavis was regarding the motion of confidence in the council of ministers and it had nothing to do with the no confidence notice submitted by us against the speaker,” they said in the memorandum. Talking to reporters after meeting the governor, Vikhe Patil said they urged him to issue necessary directives to the government.
Jayant Patil said the opposition would press for a debate on its no confidence notice. “Opposition members are not allowed to raise issues of public interest,” he alleged. Prithviraj Chavan said the chief minister is not elected by the Legislative Assembly. “It is the speaker who is elected by the House and the members can bring no-confidence against him. When Dilip Walse Patil was the speaker, he had read out the notice of no-confidence against himself in the House.”
“We will seek a debate on the notice before the session ends,” he said. The ongoing budget session of the state Legislature will end on March 28. Earlier, after the House was adjourned for the day, the opposition party leader held a press conference, where they slammed the government and the chief minister saying that the episode was a blot on the democracy. Walse Patil said the government and the legislature were two separate institutions. “As per the rule, the speaker has to read out the notice after 14 days of its submission and ask 29 members of the House to stand up in support of the notice. He then admits the notice as a motion and fixes the date of debate on the motion. The chief minister has no role to play in this,” he said.
He added that although the CM’s motion of confidence in speaker was passed, the opposition’s notice of no-trust still remains. “The government is wrong in saying that the issue is over. Our no confidence notice was not against the government,” he said. “Since we don’t have numbers in the House, it was clear that the no-trust vote against the speaker would not have passed. But we expected a debate on improving the functioning of the House,”the NCP leader said.
Vikhe Patil said they would submit a letter to the Legislature Secretariat to list the no-confidence notice in the business of the House on Monday. “It is clear that the government did not want issues of corruption and its failure on all fronts to be discussed in the House. The government will have to answer the people. We will press for the no-confidence motion against the speaker. The government has the majority in the Assembly and it can ask for vote,” he said.
Jayant Patil sought to know the need to adjourn the House after getting the motion passed by a voice vote. “Why did they run away from debate? We wanted the functioning of the House to improve and ensure that there is no injustice against the opposition members, who are disallowed from raising issues of public interest. Patil described Fadnavis’ action of moving the trust vote in favour of the speaker as “childish”.
Prithviraj Chavan said Bagde had lost all the moral authority to preside over the House. Chavan also targeted the Shiv Sena for supporting CM’s motion in the House today. “The true faces of the BJP as well as that of the Sena have been exposed. They can’t face the people. It is better if the Sena opposes the BJP in the legislature and the cabinet instead of the editorials in ‘Saamana’ (Sena mouthpiece). It should target the BJP on the streets,” he said.