Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar Affirms Stability Of Shinde-Led Government Amid Disqualification Hearings

November 28,2023

Maharashtra's Assembly Speaker, Rahul Narwekar, stirred controversy on Monday by asserting that the Eknath Shinde-led government was stable and enjoyed majority support in the lower house of the legislature. He claimed the government had the "magic number" in its favor. This statement came even as he is currently hearing applications for the disqualification of rival factions of the Shiv Sena. Narwekar stated to reporters in Sindhudurg that he would make a decision on the disqualification issue within the December 31 deadline set by the Supreme Court.

Narwekar strongly criticised Shiv Sena (UBT) spokesperson and editor of the party mouthpiece "Saamna," Sanjay Raut, for questioning the stability of the BJP-led Mahayuti government in the state. Responding to reporters about Raut's consistent claim that the ruling coalition is unstable, Narwekar said, "A government falls only when it fails the number game in the legislative assembly and not because of comments made outside the House. The government has the magic number (support of 145-plus MLAs in a House of 288 seats). People should not make such comments."

Regarding the adjudication of the pending disqualification pleas, the speaker stated, "I am planning to complete the hearings and make a decision within the timeframe given by the Supreme Court. I am taking care not to affect the principles of natural justice. I will decide on the disqualification of (Shiv Sena) MLAs at an appropriate time." The Supreme Court has directed the assembly speaker to decide the cross-petitions filed by the rival factions of the Shiv Sena seeking disqualification of each other's MLAs on or before December 31. One of the pleas seeks the disqualification of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and the MLAs who backed him during the rebellion against the president of the undivided Shiv Sena and then-CM Uddhav Thackeray last year.

Narwekar also responded to Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and former state minister Aaditya Thackeray's comments on violating anti-defection laws. "The assembly speaker will decide whether or not there has been any violation of the anti-defection laws. Thackeray should not make any comments about it. If a violation has taken place, I will make an appropriate decision. I can assure the people of the state that I will not make any wrong decisions," he asserted.