- Nana Patole, 56, a four-time MLA, represents Sakoli Assembly segment
- His nomination is seen as attempt to reach out to agrarian communities
- The BJP took back the name of Kisan Kathore as the party's nominee
Congress MLA Nana Patole has been elected as Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly. Mr Patole's election came after the BJP took back the name of Kisan Kathore as the party's nominee with minutes to go before the 10 am deadline. It is a tradition in the Maharashtra Assembly for the Speaker to be elected unopposed. The election was to have been held today, a day after the ruling Sena-Congress-NCP alliance cleared a floor test conducted by pro-tem Speaker Dilip Walse Patil of the NCP.
As many as 169 MLAs in the 288-member Assembly voted in favour of the Maha Vikas Aghadi - the Sena-NCP-Congress alliance headed by Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray - while the BJP's 105 MLAs staged a walkout.
Nana Patole, 56, a four-time MLA, represents the Sakoli Assembly segment in Vidarbha. He was with the Congress earlier but quit and contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls on a BJP ticket; he beat NCP strongman Praful Patel from the Bhandara-Gondiya seat.
However, in December 2017 he quit following differences with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and returned to the Congress.
In a tweet posted after the election, Mr Fadnavis offered his congratulations to Mr Patole.
"It is the tradition of Maharashtra to elect (unopposed) a Speaker of the Assembly. A similar request was made by (pro-tem Speaker) Dilip Walse Patil-ji. The BJP also took a similar stand. Congratulations to new (Speaker) Nana Patole in the House today for his uncontested selection," Mr Fadnavis tweeted.
Maharashtra has a tradition to elect Assembly Speaker unanimously & not by election.— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) December 1, 2019
Protem Speaker Dilip Walse Patil ji requested for consensus & @BJP4Maharashtra agreed to this.
Congratulated new Assembly Speaker Nana Patole in the house.
A former Kisan Wing leader, Mr Patole's nomination has been seen by many as an attempt to reach out to agrarian communities in the state. His nomination has also been seen as an attempt by his party to maintain a balance of power between various regions as most of the top NCP and Congress leaders hail from western Maharashtra.
Maharashtra BJP President Chandrakant Patil was quoted by news agency ANI as saying his party had nominated Mr Kathore for the post but, after requests by the opposition, withdrew his name
Kisan 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.
With input from ANI