After winning the maiden major legislature battle – the election of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker – the Eknath Shinde government supported by the Bharatiya Janata Party is now preparing for the crucial ‘vote of confidence’ in the House, scheduled here on Monday.
The Shinde-led government, which was sworn-in on June 30 after the collapse of the 31-month-old Maha Vikas Aghadi government, will seek the confidence vote on the second day of the 2-day Special Session of the Assembly convened by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.
Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the ruling alliance will easily win the house trust as it has 166 MLAs on its side, comprising the BJP, the Shiv Sena’s rebel group which broke away on June 20, besides independents and smaller parties’ legislators – sufficient to clear the midway mark of 145 (in the 288-member Lower House).
The government passed its first litmus test this afternoon when BJP’s Advocate leader Rahul Narwekar – a first-time legislator – was elected as the youngest-ever Speaker of the House and also the youngest to hold the august office in the country.
While Narwekar bagged 164 votes, the MVA candidate Rajan Salvi secured only 107 votes of the 271 votes polled in the 288-member house. Of the rest 17, one has passed away, 2 are in custody, 3 abstained, and the remaining others were absent for various reasons, including ill-health.
Congress leader Nana Patole was the last Speaker, who was elected late in 2019 after the Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress MVA government headed by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray took office.
However, Patole quit the post in February 2021 after he was appointed as the state Congress President and since then, NCP’s Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal was officiating for nearly 18 months.