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'Please do not take away our leader of opposition'

Tuesday, June 18, 2019
By A Special Correspondent. Photograph by Azad Shrivastav

The Congress-NCP led opposition in both the houses of the state legislature raised objection to Vikhe-Patil being sworn-in as a minister arguing that Vikhe-Patil could not be inducted into the state cabinet in the same term even as he was not a member of either houses of the state legislature.

In a sarcastic jibe at former leader of opposition in legislative assembly now Minister for Housing Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) member Ajit Pawar urged Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis not to take away the leader of opposition designate Vijay Wadettiwar from the opposition. The Congress, NCP led opposition in both the houses of the state legislature raised objection to Vikhe-Patil being sworn-in as a minister arguing that Vikhe-Patil could not be inducted into the state cabinet in the same term even as he was not a member of either houses of the state legislature and hence could not take oath as a minister.

Making an intervention in the debate regarding letter given by the opposition to Speaker Haribhau Bagade regarding declaring Wadettiwar as the new leader of opposition, Pawar remarked that in 2014 the government had inducted then leader of opposition Eknath Shinde into the state cabinet. Now at the start of this monsoon session the government has once again taken away its leader of opposition. Arguing that there were no differences in the opposition ranks, he argued that it was the oppositions right to get its leader of the opposition. He wanted to know whether the government had checked whether the erstwhile party of Vikhe-Patil had served any notice on him while quitting from the party. Pawar argued that Vikhe-Patil could not take oath as a minister in the same term of the house within six months.

As soon as the house assembled for the day, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader, Vijay alias Balasaheb Thorat urged the chair to take up the opposition letter and declare the appointment of Wadettiwar as the new leader of opposition. Intervening in the debate, Wadettiwar remarked that he would very much remain on the opposition benches. He added that if and when the opposition comes to power he will be on the treasury benches. While taking a swipe without naming Vikhe-Patil, he further remarked that repeated changing ones loyalties cannot be called as loyalty. Giving his ruling over the matter, the Speaker stated that he would take a decision in this regards at the appropriate time after consulting the concerned authorities.

Refuting the opposition contention over the induction of Vikhe-Patil, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis argued that the government had not violated any law and taken the decision after taking into account the provisions of the law. He said that the constitutional provisions lay down the eligibility criteria. As per the eligibility norms a person who confirms to the norms and is not a member of either houses of the state legislature can be inducted into the ministry and has to get elected to the house within six months time. Earlier as the lower house assembled for the day the opposition raised slogans of “Aya Ram, Gaya Ram, Jai Shri Ram” as Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis introduced the new cabinet ministers to the house.

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