New Delhi: Rahul Narwekar, a first-time MLA, was elected as the Speaker of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on Sunday defeating Shiv Sena candidate Rajan Salvi.
The post of the Speaker was vacant after Congress’ Nana Patole resigned from the office in February 2021, to take charge as the party’s state unit chief. In the absence of a Speaker, Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal was playing the part of an acting Speaker in the House.
The Speaker elections were held after Eknath Shinde, who led a rebellion to bring down the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, took oath as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra on June 30. The new Maharashtra Cabinet has called a special session of the state assembly for two days– July 3 and July 4.
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that Narwekar is the “youngest speaker” in the country. Interestingly, Narwekar’s father-in-law Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar, a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) member is the Chairman of the state Legislative Council.
“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 added.
The new Speaker was associated with the Nationalist Congress Party and Shiv Sena in the past.
Narwekar (45), a sitting MLA from Colaba, left Shiv Sena in 2014 to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Maval constituency as a NCP candidate. However, he suffered defeat but was elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Council and remained its member till 2019.
He contested the Assembly elections from the Colaba seat on BJP’s ticket and emerged victorious.
Narwekar (45) received a total of 164 votes in support and 107 went to Shiv Sena candidate’s account. During the Speaker elections, 12 members were absent and 3 legislators abstained from the voting.
In the two-day special session of the Assembly beginning Sunday, the Shinde-Fadnavis government will have to prove its majority on the floor of the House on Monday in a Vote of Confidence.