Commenting on MLAs switching their loyalties after getting elected on a party ticket, Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar today said a legislator can act as per his will while abiding by law.
Narwekar, who met his Goa counterpart Ramesh Tawadkar at the Goa Assembly complex here, was replying to a question about the defection of MLAs such as the coastal state has witnessed.
In September, eight out of 11 Congress MLAs joined the ruling BJP in Goa.
Asked if it amounted to a “murder of democracy,” he said the ultimate judge will be the electorate.
“The term democracy itself says that you can act according to your will and desire within the four corners of law,” Narwekar said.
“The ultimate test is in the hands of electorate. The electorate decides, based on the good work that MLA has done or individual has done in his constituency,” he added.
Asked how he rates the performance of rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde as Maharashtra Chief Minister compared to his predecessor Uddhav Thackeray, Narwekar said it was not for him to judge a chief minister.
“I am in-charge of legislators. I leave it to people to decide the merits of the chief minister and I will take up the duty to ensure that legislators perform their duty,” he said.
Shinde had held some important portfolios in the past and that experience will help him in the new role, the Speaker added.
About the practice of curtailing Assembly sessions which denies time to Opposition to corner the government, Narwekar said legislature sessions in Maharashtra are among the longest in the country.
“After the Lok Sabha, Maharashtra ranks amongst the top states to have maximum number of days of sessions,” he said.
“However, I still feel that this can be improved,” he conceded, adding that he will try to have longer sessions during his tenure.
States like Goa and Maharashtra are progressive states, Narwekar said.
“To increase the depth of parliamentary democracy, I am sure that both these states and the leaders of these states will ensure that in the coming days, maximum time is devoted to legislative and parliamentary work,” he said.
Tawadkar said he and his Maharashtra counterpart discussed good legislative practices in their respective states during the meeting.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)