Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi sails through floor test, gets 169 votes in 288-member House; BJP stages walkout

After a month of intense power struggle that saw long-term allies parting ways and bitter rivals forging an alliance, the Maha Vikas Aghadi led by Shiv Sena chief Udhhav Thackeray sailed through the trust vote in Saturday’s special Maharashtra Assembly session, with with 169 votes in favour of the coalition.

Uddhav thanked the House members and people of Maharashtra after the pro-tem​ Speaker declared that his government had won the floor test.

“I thank all the members for trusting me. I also thank the people of the state. It is not possible to work without their blessings,” Uddhav said.

“Yes, I was slightly tense before coming to the House as I did not have any prior experience of working in the House, but only on the ground. I feel fortunate to be here,” Uddhav said.

On reaching Raj Bhawan, the newly-elected chief minister Uddhav Thackeray paid tribute to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the premises of the Assembly on Saturday. ANI

The floor test began with high drama as the BJP legislators, led by former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, staged a walkout ahead of the floor test in the 288-member House.

The saffron party protested against the selection of Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Dilip Walse Patil as temporary speaker. Patil had replaced the BJP’s Kalidas Kolambkar as pro-tem speaker and a permanent Speaker will be elected on Sunday.

Boycotting the floor test, Fadnavis alleged that the special Assembly session was conducted in “violation of established practices and rules”

The BJP leader said that they were against the “unlawful” manner in which the ministers were sworn in and the House session convened.

“This Assembly session is not per rules. This session started without Vande Mataram. It is a violation of rule,” alleged Fadnavis, despite the protem Speaker asserting that the session was with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s permission.

Defending the special Assembly session, protem Speaker Dilip told Devendra Fadnavis, “You are raising a issue which is of out of the House (oath taking of Maha Vikas Aghadi government)’. Governor has given the permission for this session. This session is as per rules. So your point stands rejected.”

However, Fadnavis, the BJP legislature unit leader, objected to the replacement of party MLA Kalidas Kolambkar as the protem speaker with NCP’s Dilip Walse Patil.

“Such a replacement has happened for the first time in the history of India as the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance was scared of losing the floor test,” he said in the House.

He also claimed that the oath-taking ceremony of Uddhav and six other ministers was also not in line with the rules.

“Someone took Balasaheb Thackeray’s name, someone took names of Congress chief Sonia Gandhiji and NCP president Sharad Pawar Saheb. The oath was not taken as per the given format,” Fadnavis added.

Fadnavis’ reaction didn’t go down well with the newly-elected chief minister. Uddhav said, “The BJP feel stung when we took names of Chhatrapati Shivaji while taking oath. I will take the name again and again. Those who don’t take names of their parents have no right to live,” he said.

“It is not Maharashtra’s culture when you think taking name of Chhatrapati Shivaji and parents is a crime,” Uddhav added.

The Shiv Sena president, first of his clan to hold the office of chief minister, was sworn in on Thursday evening and hours later, presided over his government’s first cabinet meeting.

Besides Uddhav , six other ministers were sworn into the ministerial council in the state Legislative Assembly on Saturday.

Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai (Shiv Sena), Jayant Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal (NCP) and Balasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut (Congress) had taken oath as ministers at Thackeray’s swearing-in ceremony held at Shivaji Park in Mumbai on Thursday.

With inputs from agencies 

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