Mumbai confidential: Headmaster

Sandeep Ashar
Maharashtra Assembly Speaker, Nana Patole, Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, Mumbai news, Maharashtra news, indian express news

In an unprecedented scene, Patole, who was livid at the executive for ignoring queries raised by the MLAs, sought a personal apology from Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta, asking the latter to stand outside the Assembly gate while doing so.

Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Nana Patole is fast earning the reputation of being a “headmaster” for the manner in which he conducts the House. During the proceedings of the Budget session, he was seen warning MLAs that he would order their removal from the House if they spoke out of turn. Some members had their microphones turned off for “overstepping” the line. Then there was that unprecedented scene when Patole, who was livid at the executive for ignoring queries raised by the MLAs, sought a personal apology from Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta, asking the latter to stand outside the Assembly gate while doing so. He only withdrew the order after Deputy CM Ajit Pawar tendered an apology on the administration’s behalf.

Missing In Action

In a press conference convened by him upon the conclusion of Budget session of the state legislature, Opposition Leader (Assembly) Devendra Fadnavis said the chief minister had not replied to any debate in the Lower House the whole session. While the CM is not required to sign the attendance register of the Assembly, sources pointed out that Uddhav Thackeray was facing some criticism for not representing the government in debates. His deputy in government, the more experienced Ajit Pawar, was clearly the man in charge during Assembly proceedings.

Losing Ground?

Before the Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress came together to form the government on November 28 last year, the Congress pushed for a proportionate share in power and was seen insisting that it wouldn’t be seen playing third fiddle in the government. But three months into the government, the Congress appears relegated to a lesser role. Sources pointed out that the party ministers have been missing from joint press conferences by the ruling partners. The Shiv Sena and the NCP have also grabbed most of the limelight on governance issues.

Man Of The Moment

Just four months ago he was painted as a villian in the NCP camp. He was one of the MLAs who had broken ranks with the NCP to accompany Ajit Pawar for the secret swearing-in at Raj Bhavan. But 60-year-old Narhari Zirwal was the cynosure of all eyes this past Saturday, when he was elected unopposed as the Deputy Speaker of the Assembly. Zirwal made the most of the moment, making an emotional speech and promising to be unbiased while presiding on the chair.

Lost Opportunity

It is still early days of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi rule in the state. But if the floor management in the Budget session is an indicator, sources admitted that the BJP failed to pin the ruling coalition and expose cracks within the allies. Just as senior BJP leaders blamed it on the curtailment of the session in the wake of the coronavirus scare, there were several opportunities during the session when it let the government get away, sources pointed out.