Nagpur: The BJP Government in Maharashtra, led by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, won the trust vote in Assembly on Wednesday. The confidence motion was passed by voice-vote. However, the voice-vote got embroiled in a major controversy as the opposition Congress and Shiv Sena termed the Fadnavis Government “illegitimate” and demanded that the voting be done again.
The minority BJP Government led by Fadnavis won the floor test by a voice vote, conducted immediately after the motion was tabled in the House. The 13-day Government was able to sail through even after the party’s estranged ally, the Shiv Sena, reportedly voting against it.
“The BJP has murdered democracy,” Shiv Sena said and alleged that Speaker Haribhau Bagde has acted unconstitutionally. The party has sought a division of votes instead of voice vote. “On the very first day, the Assembly did not work according to the rules. We will speak to the NCP and also go to the Governor,” Ramdas Kadam of Shiv Sena said.
Congress too demanded a division of votes. “It’s a black day for Maharashtra’s democracy. We will meet the Governor and demand another round of trust vote,” Congress leader and former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan told reporters. “The voice vote done today was illegitimate and hence the Government here is illegitimate,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the BJP’s Haribhau Bagde was elected Speaker of Maharashtra Assembly unopposed, securing the BJP Government its first victory of the day. The BJP managed the Speaker’s post after the Shiv Sena, which has declared that it is going to vote against their estranged partner in the Assembly, and the Congress withdrew their candidates for the post.
The Congress candidate Varsha Gaekwad withdrew her nomination for the Speaker’s post after their former ally, the Nationalist Congress Party, declined to support it. Gaekwad had earlier met NCP chief Sharad Pawar to seek support for her candidature.
Ahead of the crucial vote of confidence in the State Assembly on Wednesday, the Shiv Sena announced its decision to sit in the opposition instead of supporting the BJP. The 41-member NCP of Sharad Pawar has already declared its support to the minority government.
The BJP has 121 MLAs in the House with the effective strength of 287 and has claimed support of seven independent MLAs, including three from Bahujan Vikas Aaghadi, besides some others.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had earlier written a letter to state Assembly secretary seeking the post of Leader of Opposition for its Legislature Party leader Eknath Shinde while pointing out that Sena is the second largest party in the House with 63 MLAs.
To a question on why the Sena had withdrawn its candidate for the Assembly Speaker’s post, Kadam said the Speaker’s election is normally unanimous and unopposed.