Written bySiddhant Pandey
Patole, 56, was elected Speaker unopposed after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) withdrew its candidate, mere minutes ahead of the deadline.
The development comes a day after the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government won the trust vote in the Assembly.
Here are more details.
Pro-tem Speaker Dilip Walse Patil had called an all-party meeting to discuss the Maharashtra Assembly Speaker's election, earlier in the morning.
After the meeting, Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil announced that the party will withdraw the nomination of Kisan Kathore for the Assembly Speaker post.
The move came minutes ahead of the 10 am deadline to withdraw the nomination.
Soon after Patil's announcement, the Pro-tem Speaker declared Patole the Speaker in the House.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis, among other senior MLAs welcomed Patole and escorted him to the Speaker's chair.
The appointment is viewed as an attempt to help connect with the troubled agrarian community in Maharashtra with Patole being a former Kisan Wing leader.
Thackeray said as much in the Assembly, "Nana Patole has also come from a farmer family and I am very confident that he will give justice to everyone."
Several BJP MLAs observed that Thackeray should address Patole as "Adhyaksh Mahoday (Mr. Speaker)" to which, the Maharashtra CM added, "Since our relationship is different, it's new to me."
Fadnavis remarked that Patole should've been appointed to the state Cabinet with an agriculture portfolio.
He added, "We had nominated Kisan Khatore (for the Speaker post) but in an all-party meeting, they requested us to withdraw the nomination. It has been a tradition that the post of the Speaker is appointed unopposed so we accepted the request and withdrew the name of our candidate."
A four-time MLA, Patole represents the Sakoli Assembly segment in Vidarbha. This is the first time in the last two decades that a Speaker has been elected from Vidarbha.
Patole was born in 1962 in a family of government officers in Sakoli. After graduating with a commerce degree, he joined the Congress and became Bhandara Zilla Parishad member in 1991.
Patole quit the Congress and won the 2014 Lok Sabha election on a BJP ticket, beating NCP strongman Praful Patel from the Bhandara-Gondiya seat. However, he later returned to the Congress party in December 2017, citing differences with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Fadnavis.
On Saturday, the Maha Vikas Aghadi—an alliance of Shiv Sena, Congress, Nationalist Congress Party—passed the floor test, with 169 votes.
All 105 BJP MLAs were absent during voting as they had staged a walkout, led by Fadnavis.
Fadnavis had raised several concerns about the Pro-tem Speaker's appointment, the assembly session being "unconstitutional," and the "illegal" swearing-in of CM Thackeray.
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