Ruling out any alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday said that the party’s no-confidence motion against senior Congress leader Shivajirao Deshmukh in state council was a catalyst which suited the BJP’s politics. Fadnavis warned that developments in state council cannot be construed as a realignment of political partnerships.
Legislative Council on Monday turned into an open political battleground when no-confidence motion against chairman of the council Shivajirao Deshmukh was tabled by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and supported by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Buried animosity between the Congress and NCP and BJP and Shiv Sena resurfaced on the floor of the council as members resorted to an open war of words and started mud-slinging.
This is the first time that the no-confidence motion has been passed against the council chairman.
NCP MLC Amarsingh Pandit, along with 18 members, had proposed the no-confidence motion last week. Discussion on it was held on Monday. NCP and BJP secured 45 votes, a majority, for the motion, as against 22 members of the Congress who voted against it. Sena and other smaller parties’ members remained neutral.
Eknath Khadse said BJP aims at a Congress-free Maharashtra and, by supporting the NCP, the party intends to reduce (the presence of) Congress in the state. This was for the first time since Sena aligned with the BJP in state to share power that the latter supported opposition party NCP.
NCP leader Ajit Pawar maintained that as per the strength the chairman should be from NCP and that Deshmukh should have resigned from the post to avoid this situation.
NCP, having majority number of members in the council, wants to nominate its candidate Ramraje Naik-Nimbalkar as chairman.
Senior NCP leader Sunil Tatkare said the party brought the motion against Deshmukh with “a heavy heart”. “Congress and Sena leaders tried to malign the situation. All this could have been avoided if Deshmukh would have resigned from the post and allowed NCP to appoint its nominee,” he added.
Seventy-nine-year-old Shivajirao Deshmukh, who’s been in politics for 37 years, addressed the House and responded to the no-confidence motion against him. He said he was offered the position and that he had never begged for one.
Deshmukh was appointed chairman of the legislative council in 1999 by the Congress. There were a couple of occasions when no-confidence motion was brought against him but was withdrawn later out of respect.