Rahul Narvekar of the BJP was on Sunday elected Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly. Narvekar, who polled 164 votes, defeated Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena candidate Rajan Salvi, who got 107 votes. Narvekar (45) is the youngest ever Assembly Speaker in the country, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said. His father-in-law Ramraje Naik of NCP is the chairperson of the Legislative Council.
The two-day special session of the 288-member House got underway in the Vidhan Bhavan in south Mumbai at 11 am on Sunday. The Eknath Shinde-led government will face a floor test in the Assembly on Monday. The Assembly has one vacancy due to the death of Sena’s Ramesh Latke. NCP legislator Narhari Zirwal could not vote as he is the deputy speaker.
After the vote count, Zirwal said, “Some Shiv Sena MLAs voted against the party whip. Its recording should be verified and necessary action should be taken against them.” As many as 12 MLAs were absent during the House proceedings on Sunday.
Two of them – Laxman Jagtap and Mukta Tilak – are suffering from serious ailments, while two NCP legislators – Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik- are in jail in connection with different money laundering cases. AIMIM MLA Mufti Mohammad Ismail did not attend the session.
Three legislators – Rais Shaikh, Abu Azmi (both of the Samajwadi Party) and Shah Farukh (AIMIM) – abstained from voting.
Congress MLA Praniti Shinde remained absent during the House proceedings. Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray targeted the Eknath Shinde-led government on the stringent security arrangements in place for rebel Shiv Sena MLAs as they entered the Vidhan Bhavan premises from a nearby luxury hotel.
Rebel Shiv Sena MLAs, who support Shinde, returned to Mumbai from Goa on Saturday evening and were lodged in a luxury hotel in south Mumbai. Before the session commenced, the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena faction sealed the legislative party office in the Vidhan Bhavan.
A paper was stuck with a plastic tape on the closed doors of the Sena legislative party office in the Vidhan Bhavan, with a message in Marathi written on it saying, “The office is closed as per instructions of the Shiv Sena legislative party.” Last month, Eknath Shinde launched a rebellion against the party. Majority of MLAs sided with him, which led to the collapse of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA-comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress) government led by Uddhav Thackeray.
Shinde was on Thursday sworn in as the 20th chief minister of Maharashtra, while BJP stalwart Devendra Fadnavis took oath as the deputy CM. After stepping down as the CM, Thackeray removed Shinde from the post of ‘Shiv Sena leader.’