Cong's Nana Patole elected as Maharashtra Assembly Speaker
Mumbai, Dec 01: Congress candidate Nana Patole is set to be elected unopposed as Maharashtra Assembly Speaker after the BJP withdrew its pick Kisan Kathore from the race.
The election to the post comes a day after the Uddhav Thackeray-led government sailed through the floor test amid protests by the BJP.
State BJP chief Chandrakant Patil had earlier said Kathore, party MLA from Murbad in Thane district, will be its candidate had decided to withdraw his candidature.
Speaking to ANI, Patil said,''BJP had nominated Kisan Kathore for the post of Maharashtra Assembly Speaker, yesterday. But, after incumbents' request, we have decided to withdraw Kathore's candidature.''
The Congress on Saturday announced party MLA Nana Patole as the candidate of the ruling Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP alliance for the election for Maharashtra Assembly Speaker's post, while the BJP named Kisan Kathore as its nominee.
As many as 169 MLAs in the 288-member Assembly voted in its favour, while the BJP's 105 MLAs staged a walkout.
"Nana Patole will be our candidate for the Speaker's election," Congress leader Manikrao Thakre told PTI. Patole represents Sakoli Assembly segment in Vidarbha.
Patole hoped he would be elected unopposed. "They (the BJP) have the right in democracy (to field a candidate). But it has been a tradition in Maharashtra that Speaker is elected unopposed. We hope that tradition continues," the Congress leader told reporters.
Patole, who was with the Congress earlier, quit the party and won 2014 Lok Sabha election on the BJP's ticket. However, he quit the BJP following differences with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in December 2017, and returned to the Congress.
NCP MLA Dilip Walse Patil was on Friday appointed as pro-tem Speaker. He replaced BJP MLA Kalidas Kolambkar who was earlier this week appointed to the post.