Maharashtra Guv asks CM to extend Monsoon Session

Maharashtra Governor asks CM to extend Monsoon Session, elect Speaker after meeting BJP leaders

The then Speaker Nana Patole had quit in February this year after he was appointed as the new president of the Maharashtra Congress unit

Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. Credit: Facebook/bsKoshyari

In what could spark off political tensions in Maharashtra, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has shot off a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to take a call on the demands raised by Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis on election to the vacant post of Legislative Assembly Speaker and increasing the duration of monsoon session.

However, the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi reminded Koshyari of the letter that it had submitted last year recommending 12 names for membership of the Legislative Council from the Governor’s quota - which the Raj Bhavan is yet to clear. 

Last week, the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government decided to curtail the monsoon session and decided on a two-day business schedule on 5-6 July in the wake of the Covid-19 situation and the impending third wave.

In a one-page letter, the Governor highlighted three issues raised by Fadnavis – increasing the duration of  monsoon session, holding Legislative Assembly Speaker's election, and postponement of local body elections due to the pending OBC quota issue.

The post of Speaker is vacant since the resignation of Nana Patole, who had taken over as the Maharashtra Congress President.

Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal of NCP is holding the fort.

Ahead of the budget session, the Governor had directed that elections to the post of Speaker be held, however, it could not be done.

Meanwhile, state Revenue Minister and senior Congressman Balasaheb Thorat said the elections to the Speaker's post are scheduled for 6 July.  “This is being considered,” he said.

NCP spokesperson and Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik said final decision will be taken once Covid-19 test reports of all the MLAs is received.

"We will hold the election to the Speaker's post but the Governor should also take a decision on nominating 12 members as MLCs from his quota. The 12 legislators can contribute to the development and welfare of the people of Maharashtra," Malik said.

It may be mentioned, on 6 November, 2020, a ministerial delegation comprising Parliamentary Affairs minister Anil Parab of Shiv Sena,  Malik of NCP and Medical Education and Cultural Affairs Minister Amit Deshmukh called on Koshyari at the Raj Bhavan and submitted the 12 names.

The Governor nominates 12 MLCs for tenure of six years – based on the recommendations of the state Cabinet.

According to Article171(5) of the Constitution: “(5) The members to be nominated by the Governor under sub clause (e) of clause (3) shall consist of persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as the following, namely: literature, science, art, co operative movement and social service.”  However, no time frame is mentioned.

As far as the Speaker's election is concerned, the MVA does not foresee any problems.

The simple majority mark in the house is 145 and the MVA constituents have more than 150 MLAs - Shiv Sena (56), NCP (53) and Congress (43) besides support of Independents and smaller parties. The BJP has 106 MLAs and has support of 10 to 12 others

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