'Ajit Dada will have no role to play as NCP's leader in the assembly whenever it is convened.'
Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com reports.
Rajendra Bhagwat, secretary, department of parliamentary affairs in the Maharashtra assembly, has confirmed that the Nationalist Congress Party has submitted an official letter about Jayant Patil's appointment as the NCP's leader in the state assembly.
"They sent the letter to me and I submitted it to the speaker's office," Bhagwat said.
Till the new speaker is elected by the newly elected MLAs of the Maharashtra assembly, Haribhau Bagde, the speaker in the previous assembly, will continue to perform the role, Bhagwat said.
Bhagwat said that the speaker is under no time-bound obligation to accept such letters of appointment.
He could not ascertain if the speaker has accepted or rejected the NCP's submission.
The elected leader of a political party in the assembly performs an important role of issuing the party's whip, which the MLAs of that party have to follow.
If they don't oblige the whip, they face disqualification as legislators.
In the current circumstances the legislative leader's position assumes significance as Ajit Pawar was elected as the NCP's legislature party leader.
However, on November 23 he took the oath as deputy chief mnister with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The role of the NCP's leader in the House will be crucial if and when the Fadnavis government faces a trust vote to prove its majority in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly.
"While we officially gave the letter to the speaker's office, Ajit Dada has not yet done so. Jayant Patil will be our party's chief whip in the assembly," NCP leader Nawab Malik told Rediff.com.
Malik claimed that the speaker's office has accepted the NCP letter and only Jayant Patil can be the party's leader in the House.
"Ajit Dada will have no role to play as NCP leader in the assembly whenever it is convened," he added.
The Bharatiya Janata Party's Union Minister Raosaheb Danve, speaking to the media on November 25, maintained that Ajit Pawar remains the NCP's leader in the House and by virtue of his post has the right to issue a whip to NCP legislators to vote in favour of the Fadnavis government.
Prasanna D Zore covers both national and Maharashtra politics. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org