Mumbai: First time BJP MLA Rahul Narwekar was elected as Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly on Sunday. Days after Eknath Shinde took over as the chief minister and the BJP returned to power in the state, the speaker was elected to run the House proceedings.
45-year-old Narwekar defeated Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena loyalist Rajan Salvi by 57 votes. Salvi was the candidate of the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine for the Speaker's election.Narwekar polled 164 votes while Salvi got only 107 votes.
The Samajwadi Party (SP) legislators Abu Azmi and Raees Shaikh abstained from voting against BJP candidate Narwekar. AIMIM MLAs also abstained from taking part in the voting process.
The Deputy Speaker, Narhari Zirwal (NCP), was acting as the Speaker as the post of the Speaker fell vacant after Nana Patole of Congress quit in February last year. Being a Deputy Speaker, Zirwal couldn’t vote in the Speaker’s election. The new Maharashtra Cabinet has called a special session of the state assembly for two days — July 3 and July 4.
Who is Rahul Narwekar?
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that newly-elected Assembly Speaker Narwekar is the ‘youngest speaker’ in the country. Interestingly, Narwekar’s father-in-law Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar (NCP) is the Chairman of the state Legislative Council. Narwekar was earlier associated with the NCP and Shiv Sena.
“Rahul Narwekar is the youngest Speaker of the Assembly, not only in Maharashtra but across the country... He is the son-in-law of the Legislative Council Chairman who is from NCP, Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar. So Assembly Speaker is Rahul Narwekar, the son-in-law and Legislative Council chairman, Ramraje Naik Nimbalakar is the father-in-law,” Fadnavis said.
Youngest Assembly Speaker of India !— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) July 3, 2022
Many congratulations to Shri @rahulnarwekar on being elected as Speaker of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly with a thumping majority.
I am confident that under your leadership, every citizen will get justice in this temple of democracy. pic.twitter.com/ndpCXRZF44
Rahul Narwekar represents Colaba Assembly constituency. He quit Shiv Sena in 2014. He contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Maval constituency on a NCP ticket but lost the election. However, he was elected as MLC and remained its member till 2019. Later, he contested the Assembly elections as a BJP candidate from Colaba Assembly constituency and won the seat.
Floor test for Shinde Govt
With Rahul Narwekar in the Assembly Speaker seat, the Shiv Sena-BJP government is likely to face the floor test on Monday during the special two-day session of the Legislative Assembly.
In the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, 10 lawmakers from smaller parties and independents, as well as 106 BJP MLAs, support Eknath Shinde. Shiv Sena has 55 seats, NCP has 53, Congress has 44, BJP has 106, Bahujan Vikas Aghadi has 3, Samajwadi has 2, AIMIM has 2, Prahar Janshakti has 1, CPI (M) has 1, PWP has 1, Swambhimani Paksha has 1, Rashtriya Samaj Paksha has 1, Jansurajya Shakti Party has 1, Krantikari Shetkari Party.