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Cong legislators disrupt Governor's address in Maha House

Congress legislators in Maharashtra today disrupted Governor Vidyasagar Rao's Address to the joint session of the state legislature, protesting the manner in which the 13-day-old BJP government won the trust vote.

Congress MLAs shouted slogans like "Dadagiri nahin chalegi (no bullying tactics)," and "Governor go back" as Rao began his Address. Raising slogans like "down with the minority government," the Congress legislators walked out before the
Governor could complete his Address.

Earlier, Sena legislators tried to stop the Governor from entering the Vidhan Bhawan to deliver his Address, and handed over to him a memorandum complaining the "unconstitutional" manner in which the vote of confidence was passed earlier in the day.

The Congress legislators including former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan squatted on the stairs of the Vidhan Bhawan building and blocked the Governor's entry. MPCC chief Manikrao Thakre said outside Vidhan Bhawan that no poll was taken during the trust vote today and it had become clear that the BJP government had trampled upon the Governor's directives to have a vote of confidence.

The state Congress, soon after the trust vote, had sent a letter to the Governor requesting him not to deliver his Address to the joint session. "The minority BJP government which has a strength of 123 MLAs when the majority mark is 145 was asked to prove majority in the House. But the motion was not put to vote. The BJP has not followed your directives and hence it is an unconstitutional government," the letter said.

The party sought time from the Governor to explain the developments in the Legislative Assembly and said if the demand was not accepted it will resort to severe agitation.Earlier, Speaker Haribhau Bagde justified his decisionto change the sequence of the business listed on the day's agenda.

"The order of the day was prepared when I was not the Speaker. How can the item of announcement of Leader of Opposition be done before the government wins trust vote," he asked. Bagde said he had changed the sequence in his capacity of being the Speaker. "The demand for poll came late. It should have come when I asked for those against the motion," he said.

To a question on charge by Opposition that he had not put the motion to vote and was there any time frame to demand
a poll, Bagde refused to comment and said the process was done as per rules. The BJP government in Maharashtra headed by Devendra Fadnavis won the trust vote in the Assembly today but the passage of confidence motion by voice vote triggered a huge controversy after the Shiv Sena and Congress contested the procedure and claimed that it had failed to prove majority.

Calling the development a "black day" in the history of Maharashtra, both the Opposition parties had announced their decision to register protest with the Governor.

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