MUMBAI: Congress’ Nana Patole and BJP’s Kisan Kathore are likely to contest for the post of Maharashtra Assembly Speaker on Sunday even as uncertainty looms over the appointment of the Deputy Chief Minister in the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government under Uddhav Thackeray.
While it was being said on Friday that the NCP has opted for the Speakers’ post instead of the DCM’s post in the government, on Saturday the equation changed yet again. With Patole’s nomination, it was finally clear that the Speakers’ post has gone to the Congress. The NCP will now have to decide whom to make the Deputy Chief Minister.
Patole’s nomination for the post is being seen as an attempt by the Congress leadership to strike a regional balance and effort to reach out to the agrarian communities in a government that is ‘top-heavy’ with western Maharashtra and Maratha leaders.
Meanwhile, senior NCP leader Praful Patel made it clear that the party is unlikely to decide soon about the post of deputy chief minister. "The party shall decide about the DCM's post only after the winter session of the assembly is concluded on December 22," Patel said.
Patole, who hails from the OBC Kunabi community in Vidarbha region, won the assembly election from Sakoli constituency of Bhandara district. He had also worked as Kisan Wing leader of the state Congress.
Patole, who was with Congress earlier had switched over to the BJP in 2009 and was elected as MP in 2014. However, he couldn’t withstand strict discipline set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for BJP MPs and became the first BJP MP to rebel against the party.
On the other hand the BJP has nominated Kisan Kathore who is elected from Murbad-Ambarnath-Badlapur constituency of Thane District. He was with the NCP prior to joining the BJP before 2014 election. He won election this time with a margin of over 1 lakh votes.
With Thackeray government proving majority, there is little chance of Patole not making it to the Speaker’s post. However, with the unrest within the NCP after senior leader Ajit Pawar’s rebellion, there can be any surprise, a senior BJP leader said.
The assembly will convene at 11 am on Sunday for election of Speaker. The nominations can be withdrawn till 10 am. The Governor’s address would then be tabled in the house after the speaker’s election.
Meanwhile, union home minister Amit Shah reached Mumbai on Saturday evening. His presence in Mumbai on backdrop of Uddahv Thackeray government clearing the floor test, has led to speculations in political circles about the speakers’ election tomorrow.