Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde has his next test set for Monday with the trust vote after he successfully led a rebellion to topple the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government. His first test was on Sunday, but Shinde won big as the BJP’s Rahul Narvekar was elected the speaker during the special two-day session of legislative assembly.
Four days old, the brand new Shiv Sena-BJP government will now face the floor test on the second day of the special assembly session. Earlier in the day, however, after the Eknath Shinde-led Sena faction sealed the Vidhan Sabha, Narvekar and former CM Uddhav Thackeray-backed candidate Rajan Salvi went head to head. Narvekar, a first-time MLA, is the youngest ever assembly speaker in the country.
Here’s all the action from the power-packed first day of the special two-day assembly session in Maharashtra:
- At the age of 45, first-time BJP MLA Rahul Narvekar became the youngest ever assembly speaker in the country when he polled 164 votes to win the election for the speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly on the first day of its special session. Defeated Uddhav-led Shiv Sena candidate Rajan Salvi got 107 votes. Narvekar is the son-in-law of NCP leader Ramraje Naik, who is the chairperson of the legislative council.
- NCP legislator Narhari Zirwal, who could not vote as he is the deputy speaker of the assembly, said after the counting that some Sena MLAs had voted against the party whip. Its recording should be verified and necessary action should be taken against them.
- Out of the 287 MLAs, 271 voted, while three MLAs – Rais Shaikh, Abu Azmi (both of the Samajwadi Party) and Shah Farukh (AIMIM) – abstained from voting. A total of 12 MLAs did not attend the speaker’s election in the house. Two of them – Laxman Jagtap and Mukta Tilak (of the BJP)- are suffering from serious ailments, while two other NCP legislators – Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik- are in jail in connection with different money laundering cases. Four other NCP MLAs – Dattatray Bharane, Anna Bansode, Nilesh Lanke and Babandada Shinde – did not show up. Two Congress MLAs – Praniti Shinde and Jitesh Antapurkar – also did not attend the session. AIMIM MLA Mufti Mohammad Ismail also did not attend the session.
- Senior Congress leader and former minister Balasaheb Thorat, congratulated Narvekar and said, “The speaker’s election took place in a transparent way. This is what we had been demanding with the governor for quite some time. It seems the governor was sleeping for one-and-a-half years. Earlier this year, leaders of the then ruling MVA (comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress) had urged Koshyari to approve the schedule for the assembly speaker’s election during the budget session in March.
- Before the session commenced, the Shinde 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, with a message in Marathi saying, “The office is closed as per instructions of the Shiv Sena legislative party.
- Sena leader and former cabinet minister Aaditya Thackeray targeted the Shinde-led government on the stringent security arrangements in place for the rebel Sena MLAs as they entered the Vidhan Bhavan premises from a nearby luxury hotel. The rebel MLAs were putting up at a hotel in South Mumbai.
(With PTI inputs)