Fadnavis govt to seek trust vote today

Three-way contest for Maharashtra Speaker's post

Fadnavis govt to seek trust vote today

The 13-day-old Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government headed by Devendra Fadnavis will seek a vote of confidence on Wednesday and it is expected to sail through with the help of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) despite a stand-off with the Shiv Sena.

The Shiv Sena, former ally, is also set to fight for the Speaker’s post. While, the BJP fielded Haribhau Bagde for the post, the Sena has nominated Vijay Auti for the same position. Meanwhile, the Congress party also nominated Varsha Gaikwad for the post making it a three-way contest.

The deadline for withdrawal is 10 am and voting will be at 11 am. Gaikwad called on NCP chief Sharad Pawar to seek support and according to Congress Legislature Party leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, the Maratha strongman told her that the party would take a call later. The Shiv Sena, the second largest party after the BJP, on Monday staked claim to the post of leader of the Opposition. It is yet to announce whether it will vote against the government during the floor test.

A meeting of Sena legislators was held at party headquarters “Shivalaya” on Tuesday. Party chief Uddhav Thackeray sent out conflicting signals on Monday night after the party staked claim to leader of the Opposition’s post, saying he was open to conciliatory talks with BJP over participation in the government “whenever they come forward”.

The 41-member strong NCP has already declared its support to the government. The BJP has 121 MLAs in the House, which now has an effective strength of 287, and has claimed support of seven independent MLAs, three of the Bahujan Vikas Aagadhi and some others.

Pawar said on Monday that the MLAs would decide during the trust vote whether to vote in support of the government or abstain from voting. In either case, the government will win the vote as the 63-member Shiv Sena and the Congress with 42 MLAs together cannot pull it down.

Principal Secretary (legislature) Anant Kalse has said this is the first time the Assembly is witnessing a three-way contest for the Speaker’s post.

“If one of the candidates polls more votes than that polled together by the other two, the one with the highest votes gets elected. Otherwise, the candidate with the least votes is eliminated and there is another round,” Kalse said.
The result will be announced in the House itself.

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