BJP's Rahul Narwekar elected new Speaker of Maha Assembly

Narvekar, who polled 164 votes, defeated Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena candidate Rajan Salvi, who got 107 votes. The Speaker’s post was lying vacant since February last year after Nana Patole of the Congress resigned.
Newly-elected Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narvekar with CM Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis after the special session of the Assembly on Sunday
Newly-elected Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narvekar with CM Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis after the special session of the Assembly on Sunday

MUMBAI: Rahul Narvekar of the BJP was on Sunday elected Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly during the first day of its special session.

Narvekar, who polled 164 votes, defeated Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena candidate Rajan Salvi, who got 107 votes. The Speaker’s post was lying vacant since February last year after Nana Patole of the Congress resigned.

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 under way 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.”

Out of the 287 legislators, 271 voted, while three MLAs - Rais Shaikh, Abu Azmi (both of the Samajwadi Party) and Shah Farukh (AIMIM) - abstained from voting. As many as 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.

Two 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. “Bharane did not attend the Speaker’s election because of his mother’s death a few days back,” an NCP leader said. Two Congress MLAs - Praniti Shinde and Jitesh Antapurkar - also did not attend the session.

Sena factions claim they sealed legislative party office:

The Shiv Sena factions led by Eknath Shinde and Uddhav Thackeray separately claimed that they had sealed the Sena legislative party office in the Vidhan Bhavan here ahead of the special session which began on Sunday. A white paper was stuck with plastic tape on the closed doors of the Sena legislative party office, with a message in Marathi written on it saying, “The office is closed as per instructions of the Shiv Sena legislative party.”

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