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Had MVA moved swiftly after Patole’s resignation as Speaker, we could have dealt with disqualification of 16 MLAs: Ajit Pawar

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The matter of disqualification of 16 MLAs following the upheaval in the undivided Shiv Sena last year could have been effectively dealt with had the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) moved swiftly after the resignation of Nana Patole as the Speaker of Maharashtra Assembly, said senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar on Friday.

Pawar was speaking to reporters here a day after the Supreme Court delivered its verdict on the political crisis that led to the collapse of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government following a rebellion by Eknath Shinde, who later allied with the BJP to become the chief minister.

Thackeray’s demand for the resignation of CM Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis is futile as there is a great difference between former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and “current people”, he said.

“First of all, the then Speaker of the Assembly (Patole) resigned without consulting the then CM Uddhav Thackeray. It was announced only after he resigned. It should not have happened in the first place but it happened,” said Pawar.

After Patole’s resignation (in February 2021), the MVA, which had NCP, Congress and undivided Sena as partners, should have taken up the issue of the Speaker’s appointment, he said.

“But unfortunately, we as MVA, failed to do that,” said Pawar, who was the deputy chief minister in the MVA government.

The issue of disqualification, triggered by the Shinde faction’s revolt, could have been resolved had there been a Speaker, he said. But for a long time, the deputy speaker was looking after the House proceedings, said Pawar, who is currently the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly.

“After this incident (the rebellion and formation of new government), they immediately filled up that post. Had the post been already filled, the Speaker would have disqualified these 16 people (MLAs),” he said.

Regarding Thackeray’s demand that the CM and Deputy CM should resign on moral grounds after the SC verdict, Pawar said it won’t serve any purpose. “There is a great difference between former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and current people. They will never resign. They will not resign even in their dream,” he said.

The Supreme Court on Thursday held that it cannot restore the MVA government led by Thackeray as he resigned without facing a floor test in June last year and asked the Speaker to decide on the disqualification of 16 MLAs within a “reasonable period”.

The court also said the decision of the Speaker to appoint Bharat Gogawale of the Shinde faction as the whip of the Shiv Sena in the Assembly was contrary to law.

On the role of the then Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, the top court said, “The governor was not justified in calling upon Mr Thackeray to prove his majority on the floor of the House because he did not have reasons based on objective material before him to reach the conclusion that Mr Thackeray had lost the confidence of the House.”


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