Devendra Fadnavis,Mharashtra Chief Minister today justified his action of getting a trust motion passed in favour of the Assembly Speaker when a no-confidence notice against the latter was pending. He cited a “precedent” during the Congress NCP rule while defending his action of getting the motion of confidence in Speaker Haribhau Bagde passed in the Assembly last week. The Opposition Congress-NCP, which had give the notice of no-trust motion against Bagde, had dubbed the move as a “blot” on democracy and slammed the government today also. “In 2006, the then Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh got a trust vote in favour of his Council of Ministers passed in the House without a prior notice and listing of the issue on the day’s agenda.
“When you didn’t find anything objectionable then, why are you opposing it now?” Fadnavis asked the Opposition members in the House. He said there was no difference between an Assembly speaker and a chief minister (in terms of moving no-trust motion). “The chief minister is appointed the leader of house by the Assembly. The only difference is that a two-day notice is given for no-confidence motion against the Council of Ministers, while a 14-day notice is given for no-trust motion against the speaker,” Fadnavis said.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Girish Bapat said he tried to consult the Congress and NCP leaders on fixing a schedule for debate on the no-confidence motion against the speaker after the 14-day notice period ended. “But there was no clarity or consensus among the Opposition members. We did not want to keep the notice pending. I urge the Opposition members to end the issue,” said Bapat.
The issue of the trust motion in favour of the speaker was raised as soon as the House met after a weekend break. Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil of the Congress said Fadnavis’ action on Friday, when the trust motion was passed by a voice vote, was a “blot” on democracy. “We exercised our constitutional right in moving a no-confidence notice against the speaker. There is no provision of no-confidence against chief minister. It is only against the Council of Ministers,” he said.
Ajit Pawar (NCP) said the House could have rejected the no-confidence motion against the speaker as the government enjoys a majority in the Assembly. Dilip Walse Patil (NCP) said suo motu (on its own) trust vote in favour of the Council of Ministers is taken up when there is no majority in favour of a single party in treasury benches. He asked the speaker to read out the notice of no-confidence against him and start the process of taking it up for a debate.
“We (Opposition) don’t have the majority to remove you from the post. But at least there can be a debate to improve the functioning of the House,” said Walse Patil, a former speaker. The Lower House witnessed three adjournments when the Opposition members came to the Well shouting slogans against the BJP-led government for “insulting” the Constitution. The Question Hour was not taken up despite the speaker calling for queries.>