Maharashtra political crisis | Embattled MVA fields Sena’s Rajan Salvi as its Speaker candidate

Updated - July 02, 2022 06:07 pm IST

Published - July 02, 2022 01:29 pm IST - Mumbai

Shiv Sena MLA Rajan Salvi. File

Shiv Sena MLA Rajan Salvi. File | Photo Credit: PTI

Shiv Sena MLA Rajan Salvi on Saturday filed his nomination as the three-party Maha Vikas Aghadi’s (MVA) coalition’s candidate for the post of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker.

The long-pending election is slated for July 3.

On Friday, first-time Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Rahul Narvekar had filed his nomination for the post. While Mr. Narvekar represents Mumbai’s Colaba Assembly constituency, Mr. Salvi is the MLA from the Rajapur segment in Ratnagiri district.

He is one of a handful of Sena legislators still with the Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena camp after current Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s recent intra-party rebellion detached 40 of the total 55 Sena MLAs to form a separate faction.

Following the revolt and the subsequent collapse of the MVA government, Mr. Shinde, with support from the BJP, took oath as Chief Minister earlier this week, while BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis was sworn-in as Deputy Chief Minister.

Given that the Sena is now split in to two factions, Mr. Thackeray’s Shiv Sena faction is likely to issue a whip to all rebel MLAs to vote for the MVA candidate given that Uddhav Thackeray is still the party chief.

However, the Shinde faction has staked claim to be the ‘real Shiv Sena’ given that they now have the majority MLAs on their side and have appointed MLA Bharat Gogawale as their whip. The rebel faction is also likely to issue a whip asking the Uddhav Thackeray faction to vote for Mr. Narvekar, the BJP candidate.

Leaders of both the BJP and the MVA camps expressed confidence that their respective candidates would win.

The Speaker’s post has been lying vacant since February 2021 when Congress leader Nana Patole resigned to become the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief.

When asked why the Congress chose to nominate a Sena candidate in the election for the Speaker’s post instead of giving one of their own, senior Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat said: “We [representatives of all three parties] sat together and decided the post ought to be given to a Sena candidate. We are firmly with Mr. Thackeray in this hour of crisis.”

A special two-day Assembly session has been convened on July 3 and 4. While election for the Speaker’s post will be held on Sunday, Mr. Shinde and Mr. Fadnavis are to face the floor test on Monday.

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