Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has written to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to extend the duration of the upcoming monsoon session of the state legislature and fill the post of the legislative assembly Speaker urgently citing the demands raised by a BJP delegation. In his letter dated June 24, the governor also asked the chief minister to take action on another demand made by the BJP to not hold elections to local bodies given that the OBC quota issue is pending. The State Election Commission (SEC) had recently declared elections to five Zilla Parishads and the byelections to seats in 33 Panchayat Samities that were rendered vacant and converted to general category following the Supreme Court verdict quashing OBC quota in local bodies.
The BJP had held a ‘chakka jam’ or road blockade protests across Maharashtra last week alleging that the state government had failed short to defend the OBC quota in the Supreme Court and to provide the empirical data. The governor stated that a delegation led by Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis met him on June 23 and demanded that the duration of the monsoon session be extended. “Since all these three issues are important, kindly take the appropriate action and keep me informed,” the governor stated. Notably, Fadnavis had criticised the state government after it decided to hold the monsoon session for just two days- July 5 and 6, alleging that the Maha Vikas Aghadi dispensation is scared of facing uncomfortable questions from the Opposition. Meanwhile, state Revenue Minister and senior Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat told reporters that the process for the election of Speaker will be completed during the two-day monsoon session.
“The process to hold the election for the post of the speaker will begin on July 5 and end on July 6. We have enough numbers of MLAs from the MVA parties (Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress) and from smaller parties to elect our nominee. But we do not know if there will be an election, ” he said. As per the state legislature convention, speaker has always been elected unopposed. The then Speaker Nana Patole had quit in February this year after he was appointed as the new president of the Maharashtra Congress unit. The Budget session of the Maharashtra legislature was held without holding the election for Speaker’s post.