With 169 MLAs In It’s Kitty, Uddhav Govt In Maharashtra Gets A Walk Over In Floor Test

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New Delhi: The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government, also known as the Maha Vikas Aghadi front, won the crucial floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly with 169 votes in their favour on Saturday. Meanwhile, the BJP, which has 105 MLAs in the Assembly, staged a walkout before the headcount of MLAs began. The boycott, BJP said, was against the "unlawful manner" in which the ministers were sworn in and the House session convened.

Pro-tem Speaker Dilip Walse Patil informed the House that four MLAs abstained during the vote. They include two from the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), one from CPI(M) and a member of the MNS, led by Uddhav's estranged cousin Raj Thackeray. Thackeray, clad with a saffron turban, thanked House members and people of the state after it was declared that his government had won the floor test. "I thank all the members for trusting me. I also thank the people of the state. It is not possible to work without their blessings," he said.

The session was telecast live for the first time in the history of the state's legislature. The House witnessed chaos as soon as it assembled with BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis claiming that Assembly session was not being conducted as per the rules. "The Assembly session not being held as per Constitutional norms," he said, adding that the swearing-in of the ministers of the Uddhav Thackeray-led government was also not done as per the rules. However, Dilip Walse Patil, who was appointed pro-tem Speaker of the House on Friday after replacing BJP MLA Kalidas Kolambkar, said that the session was being held as per Governor's nod.

Fadnavis also objected to Patil's appointment saying: "Never was a pro-tem Speaker replaced in India, why was Kolambkar replaced from the post." Responding to the allegations, pro-tem Speaker said: "I am following the Supreme Court order. The Apex Court has asked to immediately conduct the floor test and the procedure is also laid down by the top court. That is why we are today openly conducting the floor test."

 

Addressing reporters after walking out of the session, Fadnavis also charged that the oath-taking ceremony of Thackeray and his six ministers, too, was not in line with the rules. "Someone took Balasaheb Thackeray's name, someone took names of (Congress chief) Sonia (Gandhi) Ji and (NCP president Sharad) Pawar Saheb's name. The oath has to be taken as mentioned in the pro forma," he added. Fadnavis also said he will raise his concerns with Governor Koshyari. "We are going to submit a letter to the Governor asking him to suspend the proceedings of the House, and that the House should follow the Constitution," he told reporters.

Responding to Fadnavis' claim of oath-taking not being done as per Constitution rules, Thackeray said that he will continue to take oath in name of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and his parents. "Yes, I took oath in name of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and also in name of my parents. If this is an offence then I will do it again," he said. "You (the BJP) feel stung when we took names of Chhatrapati Shivaji (while taking oath). I will take the name again and again. Those who don't take names of their parents have no right to live," he added.

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