Shiv Sena takes confrontation with BJP a step further, names Speaker

Even as Shiv Sena announced its intention to sit in opposition, the party on Tuesday went ahead and named its choice for the Speaker's post in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.

Mumbai: Even as Shiv Sena announced its intention to sit in opposition, the party on Tuesday went ahead and named its choice for the post of Speaker of the new Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.

Shiv Sena's Vijay Avti filed his nomination for the Speaker's post. The BJP's candidate is party's Aurangabad MLA Haribhau Bagde.

Notably, Shiv Sena has already staked claim to the Leader of Opposition's post.

Election for Speaker's post is slated for November 12.

The time for filing of nomination for the post of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker was today extended after Opposition Sena disrupted proceedings and demanded that the notification of schedule for the Speaker's election be cancelled as all members had not taken oath.

As soon as the House assembled for the second day to enable the members to take oath, Sena leader Eknath Shinde, on a point of order, demanded that the notification of schedule for Speaker's election be cancelled.

"The time for filing of nomination is till 12 noon. As many as 106 members are yet to take oath, they cannot participate in the process of election including proposing, seconding the name of the candidate or even if they want to contest the election, till they take oath as members," Shinde said.

The time for filing of nomination for the post of Speaker was later extended till 3 pm.

As Shinde said that the notification should be cancelled and the time for filing of nomination be extended, all Shiv Sena members were on their feet demanding that the proceedings be stopped till ae ruling is given by the Protem speaker.

Protem Speaker Jeeva Pandu Gavit said there was no need for stopping the proceedings. However, Sena members were unrelenting. They raised slogans in favour of their demand that the proceedings cannot be continued till a ruling is given.

Intervening, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said it would be unfair to stop the oath-taking ceremony following which Sena members started sloganeering.

Ganpatrao Deshmukh (PWP) said the point of order was correct and at the same time it would not be right to stop the oath-taking procedure.

Deshmukh's view was supported by NCP member RR Patil. Patil said the time for filing of nomination should be extended till all members take oath.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prakash Mehta agreed to the suggestion.

Yesterday, 178 members including Chief Minister and his cabinet colleagues, former chief minister and former ministers, former speaker and deputy speaker as well as women members took oath. Meanwhile, Protem Speaker Gavit read out a letter from

Sena president Uddhav Thackeray requesting that any slogans against united Maharashtra after the oath taking should be deleted from proceedings. He was referring to some members saying 'Jai Vidarbha' after taking oath.

The Protem Speaker highlighted a similar ruling on March 22, 1995 and said if members speak anything other than the prescribed format of the oath, it will be deleted from the proceedings.

BJP member Ashish Deshmukh, son of Congress leader Ranjit Deshmukh, after taking oath had said "Jai Vidarbha".

Shiv Sena members objected to this and said the member was insulting Maharashtra to which the Protem Speaker said, "Members should refrain from making such slogans and it would not be part of proceedings."

"Members are requested not to make comments which are divisive in nature and against interests of Maharashtra," Gavit said and added that members who raise slogans against Maharashtra and separate statehood of Vidarbha will be suspended till the end of the session.

Unperturbed, Deshmukh signed the register, shook hands with the Chair and walked back to his seat.

Later, the Protem Speaker reversed his ruling of suspension of members if divisive slogans were raised.

"Mentioning Vidarbha or other region was not divisiveness or anti-Maharashtra. Members should stick to the format of the oath and other comments will not be part of proceedings,"he said.

He also said no one will be suspended.

The reversal of ruling came after senior BJP leaders objected to the earlier ruling. 

The Speaker's election will now be held tomorrow and the time of withdrawal of nominations is 10 am.

(With PTI inputs)

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