Thackeray govt passes floor test with 169 votes; Raj abstains

The Uddhav Thackeray government’s victory in the trust vote was marred also by a walkout by the BJP led by Devendra Fadnavis who cited violations of certain rules as the reason for his action

The Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP alliance proved its majority easily in the floor test held in the Maharashtra Assembly on Saturday. The Uddhav Thackeray government needed 145 votes for a majority, which it achieved easily. A total of 169 votes were cast in favour of the Shiv Sena-led dispensation.

Just before the polling, MLAs of the BJP-led opposition had staged a walkout. They did not come back to vote. At the start of the session, BJP MLAs created a ruckus, saying that the session was called against the rules. BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis said that the session was called against the Constitution, too! The former chief minister said, “We are going to submit a letter to the Governor asking him to suspend the proceedings of the House, and that the House should follow the Constitution.”

“This session is unconstitutional and illegal. Appointment of pro-tem speaker was unconstitutional, too,” Fadnavis said after walking out with the MLAs of BJP and other opposition parties.

The Shiv Sena-led government got 169 votes nevertheless in the floor test.

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), the party of Uddhav’s cousin Raj Thackeray did not vote in anyone’s favour and remained neutral in the House. Earlier, Raj Thackeray had attended Uddhav’s swearing-in ceremony, after which all eyes were on who MNS would support in the test for the majority.

The MNS has a legislator in the Assembly. When Raj Thackeray was on Shiv Sena’s platform during the swearing-in ceremony, he was welcomed, with the extended Thackeray family seemingly burying the hatchet. It made some political quarters believe the MNS was going to vote for the government, which proved false hope.

It may be noted here that at the time when Raj had parted ways with his uncle Bal Keshav Thackeray, the basis of the differences that cropped in the family was that Raj believed he had worked harder to establish the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra and that he, rather than Balasaheb’s son Uddhav, was the rightful carrier of the legacy and also more competent. His uncle did not share the view.

Apart from the MNS, two MIM MLAs and one CPI(M) MLA voted in favour of none.

Earlier, the session, which had started with an uproar by BJP MLAs, was completed in the afternoon. The leaders of Maha Vikas Aghadi had already claimed that they had the support of several smaller parties as well.

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