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Maharashtra: Uddhav-led government wins floor test after Opposition walkout

Maharashtra: Uddhav-led government wins floor test after Opposition walkout

The three-party government under Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray won the trust vote on Saturday. While 169 MLAs voted in favor of the government, the BJP boycotted the proceedings of the headcount and members of MNS, MIM and CPM remained neutral.

The BJP had raised objections over the way the session was called in, the way oath was taken by ministers, the way ProTem Speaker was changed. However, when without allowing them to raise the objections further ProTem Speaker Dilip Walse-Patil called former CM Ashok Chavan to move the trust motion and ordered a headcount, the BJP along with independent members boycotted the proceedings. They didn’t participate in the voting.

As soon as the house convened, BJP legislature party leader Devendra Fadnavis raised point of procedure. “This session is not according to the provisions of the constitution,” Fadnavis said while noting that the previous session, called on November 27 was ended with national anthem. Walse Patil ruled out the objection saying that there is a provision by which the governor is empowered to convene session within seven days of the end of a session and it is counted as the continuation of the session.

Fadnavis then raised objection over the appointment of the Pro tem Speaker. BJP’s Kalidas Kolambkar was appointed Pro tem Speaker of the assembly on November 26. However, after forming the government cabinet replaced him with NCP’s Dileep Walse Patil.

“If this is not a new session, why is it that the Pro tem speaker is changed,” Fadnavis asked. Walse Patil set aside the issue saying that the governor has powers to do so and that his appointment is perfectly in accordance with the constitutional procedures.

Fadnavis continued to raise his point saying that it is for the first time in India that a Pro tem speaker is being changed and it is not being explained. “Only once when Somanath Chatterjee was to be elected as Speaker of the house and he filed nomination, the Lok Sabha had two Protem Speakers,” Fadnavis said.

He then also raised objection that the oath taken by the Chief Minister and his cabinet was not according to the provisions of the constitution.

“They didn’t took oath immediately after the governor started it. They kept taking names of leaders in between. Someone took Balasaheb Thackeray’s name, someone took names of (Congress chief) Sonia (Gandhi) ji and (NCP president Sharad) Pawar Saheb’s name. The oath has to be taken as mentioned in the pro forma,” Fadnavis said.

However, the Pro tem Speaker ruled out this objection also saying that it won’t be right to discuss things that haven’t happened in the house.

“The questions and incidents raised by Fadnavis have not taken place inside the assembly. This has to do with the Raj Bhavan. So I wouldn’t be in a position to anything,” Walse Patil said and called for Chief Minister to introduce his ministers to the house.

This enraged the BJP members and they took it to the well of the house. They shouted slogans and thumped benches. Amidst the ruckus the ministers were introduced to the house.

The Pro tem Speaker then called in for the trust motion.

Former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan moved the motion expressing trust in government under Uddhav Thackeray. NCP’s Nawab Malik and Shiv Sena’s Sunil Prabhu seconded the motion. While the opposition continued to raise slogans, Pro tem Speaker requested all members to be seated for a headcount.

The BJP then boycotted the proceedings as the house went ahead with the headcount.

“The session is unconstitutional. The oath that was taken by the ministers is invalid. The introduction of cabinet and CM is invalid. In the history, the protem speaker has not been removed this way. Norms are being flouted. They have flouted constitution order and that is why we have boycotted the procedure,” Fadnavis told the media outside the house.

“They were afraid that their government will collapse if regular Speaker is there... That is why we staged a walk out. We are going to write to the Governor saying the business was not transacted in line with the Constitution,” he added.

Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government of the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance won the floor test.

While 169 members voted in favor of the government, nobody voted against the motion in the 288-member House.

In the October 21 Assembly elections, the BJP emerged as the single largest party winning 105 seats. The Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress won 56, 54 and 44 seats respectively.

Breakup of the Trust vote numbers
Status     Parties     Total
For     Shiv Sena 56
Indian National Congress 44
Nationalist Congress Party 54
Samajwadi Party 2
Prahar Janshakti Party 2
Swabhimani Paksha 1
Bahujan Vikas Aaghadi 3
Independents 7     169
Unattached      All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen 2
Communist Party of India (Marxist) 1
Maharashtra Navnirman sena 1       4

Bharatiya Janata Party 105
Rashtriya Samaj Paksha 1
Peasants And Workers Party of India 1
Jan Surajya Shakti 1
Krantikari Shetkari Party 1
Independent 06

Total: 288

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