Congress MLA Nana Patole was elected as the Speaker of Maharashtra Assembly on Sunday, December 1, a day after the ruling Sena-Congress-NCP alliance cleared a floor test conducted by pro-tem Speaker Dilip Walse Patil. The election came after Bharatiya Janata Party withdrew the name of Kisan Kishore, minutes before the 10 am deadline.
It has been a tradition in the Maharashtra Assembly for the Speaker to be elected unopposed. "They (the BJP) have the right in democracy (to field a candidate). But it has been a tradition in Maharashtra that Speaker is elected unopposed. We hope that tradition continues," Congress leader Manikrao Thakre had said on Saturday.
Following this, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis said in the Assembly on Sunday: "We had nominated Kisan Kathore for the post of assembly speaker, but in all-party meeting, other parties requested us and its has been a tradition that speaker is appointed unopposed, so we accepted the request and withdrew our candidate's name."
Fadnavis added that he was expecting Patole to become the agricultural minister. "I was expecting you would become an agriculture minister. But whatever position you are given you will help farmers through it," he said.
Who is Nana Patole?
The 56-year-old Nana Patole is a four-time MLA and represents the Sakoli Assembly segment in Vidarbha. He comes from the OBC Kunabi community.
Patole was the first MLA to rebel against BJP during Prime Minister Modi's first term between 2014 to 2019. He had joined the party just ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and later rebelled to join Congress. He contested against BJP stalwart Nitin Gadkari from Nagpur but could not bag a win.
The nomination of the former Kisan Wing leader is being seen as the Maha Vikas Aghadi's attempt to reach out to the agrarian community. The move can also be to maintain the balance of power between various regions of the state, as most of the top NCP and Congress leaders are from Western Maharashtra.