Congress MLA Nana Patole was on Sunday elected as the new Speaker of the Maharashtra assembly after the BJP nominee Kisan Kathore pulled out of the race. The BJP’s decision to withdraw its candidate took place moments before the 10 AM deadline on Sunday. Patole’s election as the new Speaker came a day after the Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP combine sailed through the floor-test in the assembly. The BJP had decided to walk out of the assembly just before the floor-test.
Meanwhile, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has vowed to return to power although he did not specify any time-table. News agency PTI quoted Fadnavis as saying, “I did say I will come back, but forgot to give you the timetable for it. But I can assure you one thing, you need to wait for some time.” Fadnavis was responding to jibes from the opposition leaders including Uddhav Thackeray, who reminded him about his pre-poll ‘I will come back’ claims.
The Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP alliance received 169 votes in its favour during the vote of confidence. Uddhav Thackeray of the Shiv Sena had taken oath of office as the new chief minister last week.
Nana Patole was earlier with the Congress before switching allegiance to join the BJP just before the Lok Sabha polls in 2014. He was elected to the Lok Sabha on the saffron party ticket when he defeated the NCP’s Praful Patel from Bhandara-Gondiya constituency. However, he stunned everyone by quitting the BJP in 2017.
In his letter of resignation to the then Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Patole had cited 14 issues related to agriculture, economy and unemployment as reasons for severing ties with the BJP. He had alleged that time and again he raised the issues with the prime minister but they were ignored.
Patole was elected from Sakoli constituency in the this year’s Maharashtra assembly polls.