Eknath Shinde and Devendra Fadnavis. Photo: PTI
Mumbai:The four-day old Shiv Sena-BJP government will face the floor test on July 4 during the special two-day session of the Legislative Assembly beginning here Sunday.
The election to the post of the Speaker of the House will be held Sunday after the House proceedings begin at 11 am, an official said. Sena MLA and Uddhav Thackeray loyalist Rajan Salvi is the candidate of the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine for the Speaker's election. He is pitted against first-time BJP legislator Rahul Narvekar.
Rebel Shiv Sena MLAs who support Shinde returned to Mumbai from Goa on Saturday evening on the eve of the Assembly session, and were lodged in a luxury hotel in south Mumbai, where Vidhan Bhavan, venue of the floor test, is located.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar claimed that Narhari Zirwal, the deputy Speaker, can perform officiating Speaker's duties even though a no-confidence motion is pending against him. The post of Speaker is vacant since February last year after Nana Patole of Congress quit.
As many as 50 MLAs who support Shinde, including 39 rebel legislators of the Shiv Sena, on Saturday evening flew to Mumbai from Goa by a chartered flight. Shinde, who had flown to Goa in the morning, accompanied them back.
Shinde has the support of 10 legislators of smaller parties and independents and 106 MLAs of the BJP in the 288-member House.
Following is the party position 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 a vacancy due to the death of Shiv Sena MLA Ramesh Latke in May. Two NCP members - Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Food and Civil Supplies Minister Chhagan Bhujbal - have tested COVID-19 positive, while two other party legislators - Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik - are currently in jail.