Congress Nana Patole quit the BJP following differences with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in December 2017. (Photo Credit: File)
Congress MLA Nana Patole is all set to be elected as Maharashtra Assembly Speaker as Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Kisan Kathore has withdrawn his name. While Patole's name was proposed by the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance, BJP had nominated Kathore for the Speaker's post. The election is scheduled today, the day 2 of the special Assembly session called specifically for the floor test and the election of Speaker. The deadline to withdraw the nomination was 10 am on Sunday.
"Earlier, Opposition also filed for the post of Assembly Speaker, but after request by other MLAs and to keep dignity of Assembly intact, they have taken back the name. Now, election of Speaker to happen unopposed," Chagan Bhujbal of NCP said.
Both Patole and Kathore are in their fourth term as MLA. 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.
"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," Chandrakant Patil, Maharashtra BJP chief, said.
Kathore was elected as Thane zilla parishad president in 2002. He became MLA for the first time in 2004 on NCP ticket from Ambernath in Thane district. He went on to win 2009, 2014 and 2019 Assembly elections from Murbad. He contested the 2014 and 2019 elections on BJP’s ticket.
Earlier on Friday, Nationalist Congress Party MLA Dilip Walse Patil was appointed as pro-tem Speaker. He replaced BJP lawmaker Kalidas Kolambkar who was earlier this week appointed to the post.
The ruling alliance has passed the floor test as 169 MLAs in the 288-member Assembly voted in its favour, while the BJP’s 105 MLAs staged a walkout.