The Shiv Sena on Saturday appeared to disfavour ally Congress’s decision to replace state Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat with Nana Patole and the latter’s resignation as Maharashtra Assembly Speaker. An editorial in the Sena mouthpiece `Saamana’ also said there was substance in NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s reported view that the three coalition partners will take decision on the Speaker’s post through negotiations now.
Patole resigned as Speaker earlier this week to take over as state Congress chief even as the Budget session is to start from March 1. The Congress shares power in the state with the Sena and the NCP. The Saamana editorial said the Congress had been given the post of Speaker for five years, and not for forcing an election for the post midway through which should have been avoided.
“NCP chief Sharad Pawar said the three parties will sit together and decide what is to be done about the Speaker’s post. One thing is certain, there is substance in Pawar’s view," the Sena said. Though organizational changes was an internal matter of the Congress, extra caution is required to ensure the decision does not impact the government, it said.
“Two years ago, the situation was such that no leader was ready to take the mantle of the state Congress chief.Thorat took up the responsibility and the party got more seats than expected in Assembly polls," the Sena said.
“In a time of crisis, Thorattook up the responsibility. In Nagpur the Congress won two seats in the assembly polls. If the Gandhis (apparent reference to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi) had addressed some rallies, the Congress tally in Vidarbha could have increased," it said. In Patole, the Congress seemed to have favored a more aggressive face, but “excessive aggression is also not good", the Sena said.
The editorial praised Patole as a “straight-forward and aggressive leader who works for farmers and labourers", but also preferred advise that “restraint" was key to smooth functioning of the three-party government.