12 names now dime a dozen: A Maharashtra MLC list sees another political turn

12 names now dime a dozen: A Maharashtra MLC list sees another political turn

IN A MOVE that has again brought his office under a cloud, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has approved the Eknath Shinde Sena-BJP government’s recommendation to withdraw the 12 names suggested by the previous government for the Legislative Council.

Koshyari gave his approval to the recommendation in less than 12 hours. On the contrary, he had sat on the names suggested by the Maha Vikas Aghadi government for more than a year and a half, not budging despite the Bombay High Court suggesting that he take a decision.

The Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis government has conveyed to Koshyari that a new list of 12 names will be sent to him soon. According to sources, of these, the BJP may get to nominate the lion’s share of 8-10 names.

The BJP-Shinde Sena coalition does not enjoy a majority in the upper house currently. The appointment of new 12 MLCs would ensure smooth election of a BJP nominee as chairperson at the Legislative council, a post that has been vacant for some time.

All eyes now are on whether Shinde camp candidates get appointed to the Legislative Council as Independents. Naming them as Sena candidates would attract opposition from the Uddhav Thackeray group, and may result in a legal tussle.

The MVA parties may also drag the matter to court, over the government withdrawing their 12 names. The NCP has alleged that the BJP is trying to lure more leaders into the ruling camp with the temptation of MLC seats.

The Shinde camp argues that there is no question of party affiliation in the choice of MLCs nominated by the government – which means the field is open to select the names.

At present, the 78-member Legislative Council has 24 BJP MLCs, 12 Shiv Sena and 10 each from the Congress and NCP. In addition, Lok Bharati, Peasants and Workers Party, and Rashtriya Samaj Paksha have one MLC each. It also has four Independents.

The MVA had divided the 12 seats three ways equally, with four nominees each to be named by the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress.

The reversal on the MVA list is the latest in a series of decisions taken by the new Shinde-Fadnavis government to reverse the decisions of the earlier government.

NCP chief spokesperson Mahesh Tapase said, “The constitutional validity of the Shinde government is in question and a verdict by the Supreme Court is awaited on it. The Shinde Cabinet seems to be driven by the sole agenda of overriding the earlier decisions taken by the MVA government out of sheer vengeance.”