Mumbai: The stage is set for the first major battle, the election of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker to be held on Sunday, with the Shinde government and Maha Vikas Aghadi candidates filing their nominations here on Saturday.
The Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led government, which took office on June 30, has fielded Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Rahul Narwekar while the Opposition MVA alliance has nominated Shiv Sena MLA Rajan Salvi for the crucial post.
The Congress, which had claim to the post in the previous regime, has given it up in favour of the Shiv Sena after holding discussions among the three allies including Nationalist Congress Party.
“We have filed the nomination of Sena MLA Salvi and the decision was reached after consultations among the three parties,” said Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat.
On Friday, the Congress had strongly objected to the Speaker’ election on the basis of a letter by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari stating it could not be held due to a case pending in the court.
“We don’t understand the urgency to call a Special Assembly Session on Sunday. There is a case pending in the Supreme Court. When we were in the (MVA) government, the Governor kept telling us for months that since the matter is sub-judice, he cannot allow the Speaker elections. Then, how has he permitted it for the new government,” Thorat demanded.
BJP MLC Pravin Darekar expressed confidence that given the numbers, the party nominee Narwekar will easily win the Speaker elections.
Congress leader Nana Patole was the last Speaker, who was elected late in 2019 after the MVA government headed by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray took over.
However, Patole quit the post in Feb. 2021 after he was appointed as the state Congress President and since then, NCP’s Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal was officiating.