One-fourth Cong MLAs absent in Maha trust vote, Chavan says ‘was stuck in traffic’

New Delhi, July 4 (IANS) Alarm bells started ringing when about one-fourth Congress MLAs did not participate on the trust vote in the Maharashtra assembly and the opposition numbers came down drastically while Eknath Shinde cruised through.
The MLAs who were absent are Ashok Chavan, Vijay Wadettiwar, Dheeraj Deshmukh, Praniti Shinde, Jitesh Antapurkar, Zeeshan Siddiqui, Raju Awale, Mohan Hambarde, Kunal Patil, Madhavrao Jawalgaonkar and Shirish Chaudhary.
Former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said, “there was no question of going against the party line but reached three minutes late, by that time the doors were closed”.
Leader of the Congress in the assembly Balasaheb Thorat and state President Nana Patole did not respond to calls.
While state general secretary Sachin Sawant said, “technically voting takes place after the discussion, but it was taken first. So there was misunderstanding among the MLAs and they reached late.”
Zeeshan Siddique, one of the MLAs who were absent, tweeted, “As you can see in this picture all of Congress MLAs were in the Vidhan bhavan together in the lobby but weren’t allowed to enter and vote as the gates were shut a couple of minutes before we reached. We even requested Hon Speaker to allow us to vote as voting had not begun then.”
The Congress in Delhi has begun its exercise of finding out the truth behind the absence of MLAs, sources said as Chavan was also a Minister in the outgoing government and is a trusted Delhi man in Mumbai.
As expected, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s government supported by the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday won the critical vote of confidence.
In the final tally with a division of votes, the government secured 164 votes and the Opposition got only 99 in the 288-member Lower House.
This is the second big legislative victory for the Shinde government — sworn-in on June 30 along with Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis — in the past two days.
On Sunday, the alliance candidate and BJP’s advocate Rahul Narwekar was elected the new Speaker, trouncing the Maha Vikas Aghadi’s Shiv Sena nominee Rajan Salvi with a comfortable margin.
Fadnavis congratulated Shiv Sena-BJP Chief Minister Shinde, a disciple of late Balasaheb Thackeray and Anand Dighe, for winning the trust vote with a handsome margin.

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