Uproar in Maharashtra Assembly over vacant post of Speaker

The former state minister said on earlier occasions, the post had remained vacant for one to seven days.

Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on Thursday witnessed uproarious scenes over the issue of the Speaker’s post lying vacant, resulting in a brief adjournment.

The post fell vacant following the resignation of Nana Patole on February 4. He later took over as the Congress’s state unit chief.

Speaking in the House, BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar demanded that the Chair announce a schedule for the Speaker’s election at the earliest, since a delay of 30 days was a “mockery ofthe Constitution”.

He said there was no need for chief minister’s discretion in the matter.

The former state minister said on earlier occasions, the post had remained vacant for one to seven days.

“Do you want to create history and find a mention in the Guinnessbook of world records?” he asked.

In support of his remarks, Mr. Mungantiwar also said Indira Gandhi had dismissed the Sharad Pawar-led Maharashtra government on February 17, 1980 on grounds that there was no constitutional machinery in place.

“The election schedule (for Speaker’s post) must be announced immediately otherwise there would be President’s rule,” the BJP leader said.

Patole then rose to speak and attacked the BJP and Mr. Mungantiwar.

He also claimed that those not donating money for the Ram temple construction were being threatened, and demanded why the BJP was collecting the money.

“Does the Charities Act give authority to demand money?” the state Congress chief asked.

Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis objected to this and dared the state government to hold a separate debate on donations for the Ram temple construction in Ayodhya.

Amid the noisy scenes, Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal adjourned the House for 10 minutes.

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