Congress leader Nana Patole was elected the Speaker of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly unanimously as BJP candidate Kisan Kathore withdrew his nomination on Sunday. His election was welcomed by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who said that Patole has also come from a farmer family and will ensure that justice is delivered.

The deadline to withdraw the nomination was 10 am on Sunday. Former chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said that even though Kisan Kathore was nominated for the post of Assembly Speaker. “In all-party meeting, other parties requested us to withdraw his nomination and it has been a tradition that the speaker is appointed unopposed. So we accepted the request and withdrew our candidate’s name,” he said during the Assembly session on Sunday.

The Congress on Saturday announced party MLA Patole as the candidate of the ruling Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP alliance for the election to state Assembly Speaker’s post, while the BJP named Kathore as its nominee. Patole represents Sakoli Assembly segment in Vidarbha, while Kathore is from Murbad in Thane district. This is the fourth term as an MLA for both.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government passed the floor test in the state Assembly on Saturday. Altogether 169 MLAs voted in favour of the motion of confidence after the BJP, which has 105 MLAs, staged a walkout before the head count began in the 288-member House.

The headcount was held after the voice vote following the Supreme Court directive to ensure transparency, pro tem Speaker Dilip Walse Patil informed the House.

The walkout was against the “unlawful manner” in which the ministers were sworn in and the House session convened, BJP legislature unit leader Devendra Fadnavis said.

He faced flak from the ruling combine, with former CM Prithviraj Chavan describing Fadnavis, who resigned as chief minister on 26 November before his three-day-old government faced the floor test in the Assembly, as a sore loser. “Fadnavis ran away from the arena like a sore loser and the country has seen this live on TV,” Chavan said.

The motion of confidence was moved by former CM Ashok Chavan and seconded by senior NCP and Sena members. Four MLAs abstained during the vote. Two were from the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), one from the CPI(M) and the other from the MNS, which is led by Uddhav’s estranged cousin Raj Thackeray.

As directed by the Supreme Court, the name each MLA voting/abstaining in the floor test was noted down. The entire House proceedings were telecast live. When voting was being held, there were 174 members in the House, including the pro tem speaker, indicating that the BJP had managed to get the support of nine non-party MLAs.

he Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress formed the government after the Thackeray-led party fell out with pre-poll ally BJP over sharing the chief ministerial post. The BJP emerged as the single largest party winning 105 seats in the 21 October polls. The Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress won 56, 54 and 44 seats respectively. Thackeray, who is also the Shiv Sena president, was sworn-in as the chief minister on Thursday.

Uddhav Thackeray, wearing a saffron turban, thanked the House members and people of Maharashtra after the pro tem speaker declared that his government had won the floor test. “I thank all the members for trusting me. I also thank the people of the state. It is not possible to work without their blessings,” he said.

“There was some pressure before coming to the House as I did not have the experience of working in the House but only on the ground. I feel fortunate to be here,” he said. This was 59-year-old Thackeray’s first time in the House. Behind him sat his son Aaditya along with other Sena MLAs, all sporting saffron turbans.

Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil told reporters that Uddhav’s swearing-in was illegal as the prescribed format of oath was not followed. Ministers, while taking oath, took names of their leaders and others, which was not as per the protocol, Patil told reporters at the legislature complex.

A petition is being filed before Governor B S Koshyari against the “illegal” oath-taking ceremony, he said.