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BJP’s Rahul Narvekar elected Maharashtra Assembly Speaker

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Rahul Narvekar was elected the Speaker of the Maharastra Legislative Assembly on Sunday.

Mr. Narvekar, who polled 164 votes, defeated Opposition candidate Rajan Salvi who got 107 votes in the elections held on the first day of the special two-day session of the Legislative Assembly. Mr. Salvi was the candidate of the Uddhav Thackeray faction Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine.

Two MLAs of Samajwadi Party and One MLA of AIMIM abstained from voting. One AIMIM MLA did not attend the session.

The four-day-old Shiv Sena-BJP Government will face the floor test on the second day on July 4.

Rebel Shiv Sena MLAs who support Mr. Shinde returned to Mumbai from Goa on Saturday evening on the eve of the Assembly session, and were lodged in a luxury hotel in south Mumbai, where Vidhan Bhavan, venue of the floor test, is located.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar claimed that Narhari Zirwal, the Deputy Speaker, can perform officiating Speaker’s duties even though a no-confidence motion is pending against him. The post of Speaker is vacant since February last year after Nana Patole of Congress quit.

As many as 50 MLAs who support Mr. Shinde, including 39 rebel legislators of the Shiv Sena, on Saturday evening flew to Mumbai from Goa by a chartered flight. Mr. Shinde, who had flown to Goa in the morning, accompanied them back.

Mr. 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 — former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and former 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.

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