CM stuns Oppn by moving ?trust motion for Speaker

CM stuns Oppn by moving ?trust motion for Speaker

In an unprecedented move, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday stunned the Opposition by moving a confidence motion in favour of Speaker Haribhau Bagade and getting it passed by a voice vote.

Accusing Bagade of bias and not giving them a chance, the Opposition parties, led by the Congress and NCP, on March 5 had submitted a notice for no-confidence motion against Bagade - and formally submitted a letter to Dr Anant Kalse, the principal secretary of Maharashtra Legislature.

The Opposition wanted a discussion on the no-confidence motion but before Sudhakar Deshmukh, who was in the chair, could allow it, Fadnavis moved a one-confidence motion saying, "The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly expresses confidence in Speaker Haribhau Bagade".

The resolution was seconded by Public Works Department Minister (Public Undertakings) Eknath Shinde of the Shiv Sena and was passed by a voice vote.

Fadnavis said that a similar confidence motion had been tabled by Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh in 2006 and approved by the Assembly when the Opposition had moved a no-confidence motion against the government.

"What was legal then is legal and correct in procedure even today," he said.

Immediately after that, the House was adjourned by 15 minutes. Later, Subhash Sabne, who was on the chair, adjourned the House for another 15 minutes. Later, the Assembly was adjourned for the day.

Later, a delegation of senior Congress and NCP leaders - including Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, Naseem Khan (of the Congress), former Speaker Dilip Walse-Patil and Jayant Patil of the NCP - called on Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao and apprised him of the development.

"How can this happen? The matter was not listed in the agenda of the day and suddenly he moves a confidence motion... if you have numbers, why don't you face it?" said Vikhe-Patil, adding that the no-confidence motion given by them was "still alive" and they would take it up.

"We have given them notice... thereafter, 14 working days have passed. We wanted to take it up, but before we could speak, the confidence motion was moved," Pawar said.

On Fadnavis's statement, Walse-Patil said that during Deshmukh's time the motion was moved against the government and not the Speaker.

"He is the Speaker... so there is no question of confidence motion... we had served a no-confidence motion," he said.

"We are aware that we don't have numbers for the majority and the no-confidence motion will not be passed. We wanted to express our thoughts over the motion. In the parliament history of Maharashtra, this has never happened," he said.

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