ED attaches ex-Maharashtra minister Eknath Khadse's assets in money laundering case

Express News Service

MUMBAI:  The standoff in Maharashtra over the appointment of 12 MLCs continued even after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Congress minister Balasaheb Thorat held a meeting with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Wednesday night.

After the Bombay High Court observed that the governor cannot indefinitely put on hold the appointment of MLCs nominated by the government, Uddhav Thackeray once again sought to push the governor on the appointment of 12 MLCs.

According to sources, the governor raised objections over two (NCP leader Eknath Khadse and farmer leader Raju Shetti) of the 12 names submitted by the government.

However, the governor’s office refused to confirm or deny this.  

Ajit Pawar said he was told that Raju Shetti, who lost in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, cannot be nominated as an MLC through the governor’s quota.

Pawar pointed out that, however, in 2014, BJP leader Arun Jaitely lost the Lok Sabha polls in Amritsar but was nominated to Rajya Sabha and made the Union finance minister.

“We are checking various issues so that there should not be any obstructions while appointing these 12 names as MLCs,” Pawar said. 

The governor also objected to Khadse being made an MLC. 

“The Pune land case against Eknath Khadse and an ongoing inquiry by Enforcement Directorate against him were cited as the reasons for delay in the approval of 12 names. Besides, Raju Shetti’s name was propped up. However, we have not been told by the governor in writing on specific names and issues. We tried to pursue this issue diligently,” said a senior minister in Maha Vikas Aghadi government.

Another minister said that the governor has no right to reject the names proposed by the elected government.

“Ours is an elected government, and so, the governor has no right to interfere and raise objections to any name.”