The Eknath Shinde-Bharatiya Janata Party government will face the test of the soil today during the two-day special session of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. On Sunday, BJP MP Rahul Narvekar was elected Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly. Narvekar rejected the nomination of Sena MP Ajay Chaudhary as the party’s Legislative Unit Group Leader and reinstated Shinde as Legislative Party Leader Shiv Sena. The development comes as a major setback for the Thackeray faction comprising 16 MPs who will be bound by the whip to be issued by Bharat Gogawale for the confidence vote. If these 16 members refuse to follow the whip, they risk disqualification. Reacting to the development, Shiv Sena chief deputy Arvind Sawant said his party would challenge the “unconstitutional” decision in court. Shinde has the support of 10 lawmakers from smaller parties and independents and 106 BJP lawmakers in the 288-member House. Here is the position of the party 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 one vacancy due to the death of Shiv Sena MLA Ramesh Latke in May. Two NCP members – Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Minister of Food and Civil Supplies Chhagan Bhujbal – tested positive for COVID-19, while two other party lawmakers – Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik – are currently in jail.
First post: STI