Not improper to introduce Ajit as Dy CM: Speaker

Nagpur Walse-Patil rejects opposition contention that post not constitutional; House adjourned

The Opposition's much-touted plan to corner the government on Ajit Pawar's re-induction as Deputy Chief Minister and by moving a no-confidence motion against it proved to be a damp squib on Tuesday. While Assembly Speaker Dilip Walse-Patil rejected the Opposition claim that Pawar's swearing-in as Deputy CM was unconstitutional and his subsequent introduction in the House as Deputy CM as wrong, the Opposition betrayed lack of urgency to go ahead with Shiv Sena-led no-confidence motion when the Speaker moved to take it up.

And even as the divided Opposition, not yet ready for the no-trust motion, got into an argument with the Speaker over the latter's move to take up the motion, Home Minister R R Patil raised a point of procedure on the matter. Egging the Opposition on to go ahead with discussion, Patil went on to challenge it to come out of the House to settle the issues if they so desired, plunging the House into chaos and forcing adjournment.

The Opposition, which had created ruckus over Pawar issue on Monday, continued to argue on Tuesday, citing the judgments of Aurangabad High Court bench and the Supreme Court about the posts of Deputy CM and Deputy Prime Minister. Leader of the Opposition Eknath Khadse said, "It is okay to take oath as minister, not as Deputy CM." Subhash Desai of the Shiv Sena, too, pushed the same argument. The push, however, lacked force, making it evident that the Opposition had realised that they were fighting a losing battle.

Speaker Walse-Patil then read out his detailed ruling on the matter: "The SC has said in K M Sharma vs. Devi Lal and others case that Deputy Prime Minister is only a description and doesn't confer any powers of Prime Minister. Hence, oath as Deputy PM isn't invalid. Similarly, in Devidas Venkatrao Pawar vs. Gopinath Munde and others case, the Aurangabad bench of Bombay HC has ruled similarly. For all purposes, the Deputy CM is just a minister."

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