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Maharashtra Assembly floor test on Monday; CM holds meeting with rebel Shiv Sena MLAs

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Mumbai, July 3: Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Sunday held a meeting with his faction of Shiv Sena MLAs along with Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, BJP MLAs, and other party leaders at a hotel in Mumbai ahead of the floor test on Monday.

Maharashtra Assembly floor test on Monday; CM holds meeting with rebel Shiv Sena MLAs

They chalked out a strategy for the floor test to be conducted on Monday. Amid the ongoing battle between two Shiv Sena factions led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and former CM Uddhav Thackeray, both the sides issued separate whips to the party legislators to vote in favour of their respective candidates during the state Assembly Speaker's election on Sunday.

The group led by Shinde voted in favour of BJP's Rahul Narvekar as the Speaker, while 16 MLAs from the Thackeray-led camp voted against him. The group led by Thackeray later gave a letter to Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal, claiming some MLAs violated the party's directive. After the two-day special session of the Maharashtra Assembly commenced at 11 am, Rahul Narvekar of the BJP was elected its Speaker. Narvekar, who polled 164 votes, defeated Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena candidate Rajan Salvi, who got 107 votes.

BJP candidate Rahul Narwekar was elected as the Speaker of the House with 164 votes in support and 107 against him on the first day of the special two-day session of the Legislative Assembly beginning Sunday. Days after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Devendra Fadnavis announced rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde the next chief minister of Maharashtra, fresh rifts have surfaced within Shiv Sena.

Notably, the Supreme Court will hear on July 11 the plea of Sunil Prabhu, seeking suspension from the Assembly of CM Eknath Shinde and 15 rebel MLAs against whom disqualification pleas are pending.

Last month, Shinde launched a rebellion against the party. Majority of MLAs sided with him, which led to the collapse of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA-comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress) government led by Uddhav Thackeray. Shinde was on Thursday sworn in as the 20th chief minister of Maharashtra, while BJP stalwart Devendra Fadnavis took oath as the deputy CM. After stepping down as the CM, Thackeray removed Shinde from the post of 'Shiv Sena leader'. PTI

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