Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Monday won a floor test in the state Assembly, five days after he took oath for the post.
Earlier, Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Sudhir Mungantiwar and Shiv Sena MLA Bharat Gogawale had proposed the trust vote, ANI reported. The Opposition demanded a division of votes, and Speaker Rahul Narvekar accepted the request.
Shinde got 164 votes in his support, significantly above the majority mark of 145, while 99 MLAs voted against him.
Ahead of the trust vote, another Shiv Sena MLA from the Uddhav Thackeray-led camp – Santosh Bangar – joined the faction led by Shinde, PTI reported. With this, 40 out of 55 Shiv Sena MLAs now support the faction led by the chief minister.
No power struggle with CM, says Fadnavis
After the trust vote, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told the Assembly that there will be no power struggle or rift between him and Shinde. “I will stand with [the chief minister] with all my strength,” the BJP leader said.
The deputy chief minister said that after the Maha Vikas Aghadi came to power, he had been mocked and humiliated for the slogan of “Mee Punha Yenar [I will come back]” that he had made in the run-up to the election.
“I will not take revenge against those who mocked me,” Fadnavis said. “I will forgive them. In politics, everything cannot be taken to heart.”
The deputy chief minister also responded to criticism that the Shinde-led government came to power due to pressure from the Enforcement Directorate. “The government is indeed in power because of ED – except that ED here refers to Eknath and Devendra,” he added.
The trust vote came as Shinde, a Shiv Sena MLA, was sworn in as the chief minister on June 30 following his revolt against his predecessor and party president Uddhav Thackeray. Shinde had claimed the support of 39 of the 55 Shiv Sena MLAs and 10 Independent legislators, reducing the Thackeray-led faction of the party to a minority in the Assembly.
The rebel MLAs were demanding that Thackeray sever his ties with its Maha Vikas Aghadi government partners – the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress.
The revolt had pushed the state into a crisis. Subsequently, the Bharatiya Janata Party demanded Thackeray face a vote of confidence.
On June 29, Thackeray resigned after the Supreme Court rejected the Shiv Sena’s plea against Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s decision asking his government to face a floor test.
Monday’s trust vote was held on the second day of a two-day special Assembly session.
On the first day of the Assembly Session, BJP MLA Rahul Narvekar was elected as the Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly. He was contesting against Shiv Sena MLA Rajan Salvi, who was nominated by the party’s faction led by former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
Narvekar was nominated by the group led by Shinde.
The Speaker’s post had been lying vacant since the Congress’ Nana Patole quit in February 2021 to become the chief of the party’s state unit. Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal, a Nationalist Congress Party MLA, had been carrying out the Speaker’s functions since then.
Soon after his appointment as the Speaker, Narwekar replaced Thackeray loyalist Ajay Chaudhary with Shinde as Shiv Sena’s legislative party leader and also recognised the appointment of Bharat Gogawale as the chief whip. Sunil Prabhu was the chief whip earlier.
Ajit Pawar elected as Leader of Opposition
Meanwhile, Nationalist Congress Party leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar was elected as the Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly.
NCP leader Jayant Patil had proposed his name for the post, ANI reported.
Party MLA Jitendra Awhad urged the Shinde-led government not to engage in politics of revenge. “Even though we may differ in terms of ideology, I will always support your [Shinde’s] good work,” he said in the Assembly.