Congress set to retain Leader of Opposition post in Maharashtra Assembly

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Vijay Wadettiwar will be LoP

Mumbai: Contrary to speculations in a section of the media the Congress is all set to retain the Leader of Opposition post in the Legislative Assembly. The Congress has announced the appointment of Vijay alias Balasaheb Thorat as the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader and Vijay N Wadettiwar as the Leader of the House in the Legislative Assembly. A announcement to this effect was made by All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary and incharge of Maharashtra, Mallikarjun Kharge on Friday. With this the Congress has ended days of speculation as to who would be its CLP and leader of opposition (LoP) in the Legislative Assembly.

In the numbers game since last year 12 Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) had resigned from their membership. Out of these, four MLAs, each belonged to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena, Congress two and All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) one MLA. Besides this, the demise of Hanumant Dolas – the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) member has resulted in a total of 13 vacancies in the lower house. As per the current partywise strength in the lower house, the BJP has 119 MLAs, Sena 59 MLAs, Congress 40 MLAs and NCP 39 MLAs.

As per the legislature rules, governing the post of leader of opposition, the party that has numerically more numbers amongst the opposition parties gets to stake the claim to the post of leader of opposition. As per the norms, any political party staking claim to the post needs to have at least 29 MLAs out of the 288 MLAs to stake the claim to the post of the leader of opposition.

The former Congress leader of opposition in legislative assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil had resigned from the post following his son Dr Sujay Vikhe-Patil getting elected as Lok Sabha MP from Ahmednagar on a BJP ticket. Furthermore the Congress had to find a replacement for Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil with the monsoon session of the state legislature beginning from June 17, it found another leader in the from of Balasaheb Thorat who hails from the same Ahmednagar district and arch rival of Vikhe-Patil. Jayakumar B Gore who was tipped to join the BJP has now been made as the whip of the Congress party in the lower house. In the Legislative Council, the Congress has appointed Sharad Ranpise as the Leader of the Upper House and Ramhari Rupnawar as his deputy.

Out of the 12 MLAs who have quit from their membership of the lower house include: Ashish Deshmukh, Unmesh Patil, Girish Bapat and Anil Gote all BJP, Suresh Dhanorkar, Pratap Patil-Chikhalikar, Hemant Patil and Harshawardhan Jadhav all Shiv Sena, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil and Abdul Sattar both Congress and Imtiaz Jaleel (MIM). Out of these Unmesh Patil, Girish Bapat, Suresh Dhanorkar, Pratap Patil Chikhalikar, Hemant Patil and Imtiaz Jaleel have resigned following their election as Lok Sabha MP’s.

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