Days after Eknath Shinde took over as the chief minister and the BJP returned to power in the state, first-time BJP legislator Rahul Narvekar was elected as the Maharashtra Assembly Speaker on Sunday. Narvekar is a sitting BJP MLA from Mumbai’s Colaba constituency. He has been associated with the Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party in the past.
Narvekar joined the BJP before the 2019 Maharashtra assembly polls from Colaba. He won the assembly elections from Colaba, defeating Congress’ Ashok Jagtap. He was a spokesperson for the Youth Wing of Shiv Sena in its early years. He quit the party and joined NCP in 2014. Narvekar claimed the inaccessibility of party top brass (read Uddhav Thackeray) prompted him to quit the Sena.
The two-day special session of the 288-member House got underway Sunday at 11 am. The four-day-old Eknath Shinde-led government will face a floor test in the Assembly on Monday. As many as 50 MLAs who support Shinde, including 39 rebel legislators of the Shiv Sena, on Saturday evening flew to Mumbai from Goa by a chartered flight. Shinde, who had flown to Goa in the morning, accompanied them back.
Shinde has the support of 10 legislators of smaller parties and independents and 106 MLAs of the BJP in the 288-member House. Following is the party position in the Assembly: Shiv Sena 55, NCP 53, Congress 44, BJP 106, Bahujan Vikas Aghadi 3, Samajwadi Party 2, AIMIM 2, Prahar Janshakti Party 2, MNS 1, CPI (M) 1, PWP 1, Swambhimani Paksha 1, Rashtriya Samaj Paksha 1, Jansurajya Shakti Party 1, Krantikari Shetkari Party 1, and Independents 13. There is a vacancy due to the death of Shiv Sena MLA Ramesh Latke in May. Two NCP members — Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Food and Civil Supplies Minister Chhagan Bhujbal — have tested COVID-19 positive, while two other party legislators — Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik — are currently in jail.