The election of BJP lawmaker Rahul Narvekar as speaker by voice vote rather than by secret ballot on Sunday marked a significant test for Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s administration ahead of a vote of confidence to demonstrate its majority in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. In the 288-member legislature, Narvekar received 164 votes, surpassing the halfway point of 144, defeating Rajan Salvi of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena, who received 107 votes. The NCP, Congress, and independents all backed Salvi. Due to Ramesh Latke of the Sena’s passing, there is one open seat in the Assembly. Consequently, 271 of the 287 MLAs cast ballots.
Shiv Sena MLAs from the Shinde camp, according to Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal, voted against the whip. The entire process has been captured on video. It is necessary to record the names of individuals who voted against the party whip. Narvekar said, adding that 16 Shiv Sena MLAs who were led by Thackeray had voters who opposed the whip.
Three MLAs—Abu Azmi and Raees Shaikh of the Samajwadi Party, Shah Farukh Anwar of the AIMIM—did not participate in the vote. However, of the 12 MLAs who were not there, two of them, BJP’s Laxman Jagtap and Mukta Tilak, both had serious illnesses. There were 7 MLAs from the NCP, two each from the BJP and the Congress, and one from MIM. Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik, two NCP lawmakers, are both currently incarcerated in relation to various money laundering charges.
Dattatray Bharane, Dilip Mohite, Anna Bansode, Nilesh Lanke, and Babandada Shinde, five other NCP MLAs, failed to appear. An NCP leader claimed that Bharane skipped the Speaker’s election because of his mother’s recent passing.
Praniti Shinde and Jitesh Antapurkar, two other Congress MLAs, also skipped the meeting. On Sunday, Antapurkar will get married. According to a member of the Congress, Praniti Shinde is now abroad. Mufti Mohammad Ismail, an AIMIM MLA, also skipped the meeting.
NCP lawmaker and deputy speaker Narhari Zirwal abstained from voting because he was serving as speaker during the tragic death of Shiv Sena lawmaker Ramesh Latke.
Since Nana Patole of Congress resigned in February of last year, the position of Speaker has been empty. Speaker-in-waiting was Narhari Zirwal, Deputy Speaker.
Given the recent turn of events in the state, especially after Shinde led a rebellion and the creation of a new administration by the Shinde Camp together with the BJP supported by independents and other parties, the election for Assembly Speaker was essential. With the election of the Speaker, the Shinde-Fadnavis administration could formally vouch for the support of 164 lawmakers, including 106 from the BJP, 39 from the Shinde camp, 19 from MNS, and independents.
The newly elected Chief Minister as well as 16 other Shiv Sena MLAs from the Shinde camp may have their disqualification proceedings dismissed, according to legal experts. Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal gave them the disqualification notifications last month.
Balasaheb Thorat, a prominent member of the Congress and a former minister of revenue, congratulated Narvekar and remarked, “The Speaker’s election took occurred in a transparent way. We had been pressing the governor for this for a long time. It appears that the governor dozed out for 1.5 years.
Shiv Sena, NCP, and Congress leaders requested Koshyari to endorse the calendar for the Assembly Speaker election during the budget session earlier this year. At the time, MVA was the party in power (in March).
Prior to that, the previous MVA administration changed the regulations during a previous session of the legislature to make it possible to elect the Speaker by voice vote. The governor had deemed the choice to be unlawful and had requested legal counsel.
Maharashtra has achieved two firsts. While the son-in-law Rahul Narvekar was recently elected as Speaker of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, the father-in-law Ramraje Nimbalkar serves as the chairman of the Maharashtra Legislative Council. Narvekar is also the nation’s youngest Speaker.
Devendra Fadnavis, a BJP leader and the deputy chief minister, is tight with Rahul Narvekar. On the BJP ticket, he won the Colaba seat in the state assembly in 2019. He was, incidentally, born and reared in south Mumbai’s Colaba. Prior to it, he was connected to the NCP before joining the Shiv Sena. He served in the state council and ran for the Lok Sabha in 2014 from the Maval constituency for the NCP, but he was defeated by Shrirang Barne of the Shiv Sena during the Modi wave.
In his early years, Narvekar served as the Youth Wing spokesperson for the Shiv Sena and was close to the leader of the Yuva Sena, Aaditya Thackeray. But in 2014, he defected from Shiv Sena and joined NCP. As a lawyer, Narvekar is knowledgeable with legal and legislative issues.