Maha: BJP's Kolambkar appointed as Pro-Tem speaker

On a day of hectic political developments, veteran BJP leader Kalidas Kolambkar was on Tuesday appointed as the Pro Tem Speaker of the 14th Maharashtra Legislature Assembly.

The Vidhan Sabha has been convened at 8 am on Wednesday, when Kolambkar will administer the oath of office to the remaining 287 members.

Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari administered the oath to Kolambkar at Raj Bhavan.

Kolambkar is a seven-term MLA and had been with the Shiv Sena and the Congress earlier and is now with the BJP.

Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta, Principal Secretary Law and Judiciary R P Ladda and Secretary Parliamentary Affairs and Vidhan Bhavan Rajendra Bhagwat were present.

The seniormost legislator, however, is MPCC President Balasaheb Thorat, who was elected the Congress Legislature Party on Tuesday.

For Thorat, it is his eight term.

"The seniormost member should be the Pro Tem Speaker," senior Congressman and former chief minister Ashok Chavan said.

In 2014, the 13th Vidhan Sabha, the seniormost member was Ganpatrao Deshmukh of Peasants and Workers Party, a nine-time MLA from Sangole in Solapur district.

However, because of health issues, he declined, so the next seniormost member Jiva Pandu Gavit, the seven-time CPM MLA conducted the oath of members.

In 2019 polls, Deshmukh, now 93, did not contest, while Gavit lost the elections form Kalvan.

The seven-term MLAs besides Kolambkar are rebel NCP leader Ajit Pawar and Jayant Patil and Dilip Walse-Patil (both NCP), Babanrao Pachpute and Kalidas Kolambkar (both BJP) and K C Padvi (Congress).

Incidentally, Patil has replaced Pawar as NCP's legislature party leader.

The six-time MLAs are Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil and Haribhau Bagade (both BJP) and Chhagan Bhujbal of NCP and Hitendra Thakur of Bahujan Vikas Aghadi.

In fact,  Walse-Patil and Bagade have been former speakers of the 12th and 13th Assemblies, respectively.

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