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Maharashtra Political Crisis: Assembly Set To Elect New Speaker Today

Shinde returned to Mumbai on Saturday with 39 Sena rebel MLAs and is set to face the test of strength on Monday.

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The Maharashtra Assembly will elect its new speaker on Sunday, 3 July, with Shiv Sena MLA Ranjan Salvi set to face off against the BJP’s Rahul Narvekar for the post.

The position has remained vacant since the Congress’ Nana Patole resigned in February 2021 to become state Congress chief.

The election for the post is crucial, especially in view of the recent political upheaval in the state which saw rebel MLA leader Eknath Shinde being sworn in as the chief minister of Maharashtra. The Speaker holds the power to dismiss the disqualification proceedings, brought forth by Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal against 16 rebel Sena MLAs, including Shinde.

Moreover, if the Speaker were to recognise the Eknath Shinde faction as the “real” Shiv Sena, it will erase the need for the group to merge with any other political party.

Shinde has maintained that he is the party leader in the legislature since he enjoys a two-third majority.

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Rebel MLAs Return to Mumbai

Shinde returned to Mumbai on Saturday evening with 50 MLAs, including 39 Sena rebels and is set to face the test of strength in the Maharashtra Assembly on Monday, 4 July, NDTV reported.

He was removed as party leader for “anti-party activities” by former CM and party chief Uddhav Thackeray.

Thackeray resigned as chief minister on 29 June after the SC refused to put a stay on the no-trust vote ordered by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

Meanwhile, the SC, on 11 July, will hear Shiv Sena chief whip Suresh Prabhu’s plea seeking suspension of 16 rebel MLAs, against whom disqualification pleas are pending.

The court will also hear petitions moved by the rebel faction challenging their disqualification.

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