Mumbai: A day after Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray announced that his party will sit in opposition if BJP took NCP’s support, Sena leaders took on the BJP-led government in Maharashtra over the issue of introducing the ‘Urdu’ subject in Marathi schools. Sena was back to its old style of functioning as it attempted to create chaos in Vidhan Bhawan on Monday.
Sena legislators, wearing saffron pheta (headgear) came to Legislative Assembly in a group and occupied the benches meant for Opposition, where their seating arrangement was made, in keeping with the norms for the second largest party in the 288-member House.
Senior Sena leader Diwakar Raote today said Sena MLAs will present a green skull cap to Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse for "espousing" the cause of Urdu language in Marathi medium schools. “Senior BJP leader and state’s new minority affairs minister Eknath Khadse wants to start Urdu in Marathi medium schools. For that, they will have to appoint Urdu teachers and they will also have to create ‘namaz’ reading rooms. This looks like a great idea. Appreciating for his efforts, we are giving out scull caps to BJP ministers,” said Raote.
A Senior Shiv Sena leader said that the party has now adopted a new strategy to create nuisance and embarrass the BJP in the state assembly over the next two days. “We are prepared to sit in the opposition but we will not let the BJP have a smooth ride. Let the BJP make its stand clear whether it’s going to take NCP’s support or not. We have already raked up the Hindutva line to take the morale high ground over BJP,” said a senior Sena leader.
Sena leaders also said that the party plans to field the candidate for the speaker's post. Sena’s first speed-breaker in BJP’s path is going to be the election of a speaker. Speaker’s post is not only prestigious but is crucial for any ruling party to have a favorable speaker for smooth functioning of the assembly.
“Uddhavji and Eknath Shinde, party group leader in assembly will decide on fielding a candidate for the speaker’s post. But if the need arises, we will have to field the candidate,” said Sena legislator Neelam Gorhe.
While Gorhe said that there were no talks going on between Sena and BJP over power sharing in Maharashtra, senior BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy said that the talks are going on and the efforts are being made to work out a solution.
On Sunday, Sena president Uddhav Thackeray said that it would decide its support depending on the candidate for the speaker’s post in the legislative assembly. Or else, his party may field our candidate for the post. Uddhav, who was expected to announce his party’s leader of opposition on Sunday, instead named Thane legislator Eknath Shinde as the party’s group leader. By this move, he left a small window of reconciliation with BJP before the trust vote.
With the three-day special session of Maharashtra Assembly beginning here on Monday, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis will seek a trust vote after election of Speaker on 12 November. While the BJP has 121 MLAs, Sena has 63 MLAs, Congress 42 and NCP 41.
Sources said that Congress is likely to back the Sena’s speaker candidate taking into consideration the latter’s support to its presidential candidates Pratibha Patil and Pranab Mukherjee in the past.
Political observers said that looking at the things that unfolded in the last two days, it was now almost certain that BJP would sail through the trust vote with NCP’s support and then Sena would have to occupy the opposition benches.
Updated Date: Nov 10, 2014 22:17 PM