Amid the major twists and turns in Maharashtra politics, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) first-time MLA Rahul Narwekar has been made the Speaker of the state assembly, which experts say is “unusual”.
According to the norm, a seasoned politician who has been part of several House proceedings and rulings is the pick for the post. The appointment of the Colaba MLA, whom deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis called the “youngest Speaker in the history of the country”, is a perfect strategy of the BJP, say analysts.
In another first, Ramraje Nimbalkar, Narwekar’s father-in-law and a senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader, is the chairman of the Legislative Council.
Narwekar won with 164 votes in his favour and 107 against in the 288-member state assembly.
On Monday, the newly sworn-in chief minister Eknath Shinde and Fadnavis will face the crucial floor test.
Many Congratulations to Shri @rahulnarwekar on being elected as the Speaker of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly !
Wishing you an illustrious tenure !#Speaker #Maharashtra #AssemblySession #RahulNarwekar pic.twitter.com/Xuj9XymcJU
— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) July 3, 2022
LEGAL EAGLE TO Help Fly past the motion
Political analyst Prof Suresh Jondhale, who teaches political science at the Mumbai University, said: “This is the BJP’s political adjustment and an ad-hoc arrangement. They want a reliable person who can help them at this crucial juncture. The role of the Speaker is important when the trust motion is taken. It is important to have a person who will navigate the hurdles that may come,” Jondhale said.
Former principal secretary of (legislature secretariat) Dr Anant Kalse said that Narwekar is the right man for the job.
“Having a vast legal experience as a practising lawyer, he fits the bill. The Speaker has to handle several legal issues, be it the anti-defection law, the question of the whip or deciding which party is the largest. The BJP has rightly chosen Narwekar,” Kalse told News18.
It was indeed a fruitful and meaningful interaction and meeting session with the leaders of @BJP4Maharashtra yesterday under the guidance of our Hon. DCM, Maharashtra @Dev_Fadnavis Ji and others. https://t.co/7thvepJxpl
— Rahul Narwekar (@rahulnarwekar) July 2, 2022
Makarand Narwekar, Rahul’s brother, told News18: “Narwekar comes from a strong political lineage. His father, Suresh Narwekar, was a senior municipal councillor and his brother, Makarand, is presently a second-time corporator from Colaba. Narwekar was the spokesperson of the Shiv Sena’s youth wing for several years, but defected to the NCP after being denied a ticket by the party in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. There, he joined Nimbalkar and contested on an NCP ticket from Maval in the Lok Sabha elections in 2014. He lost to Shrirang Appa Barne of the Shiv Sena. He later won the Colaba assembly seat in the 2019 elections.”