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First-time MLA Rahul Narwekar, BJP’s surprise pick for Maharashtra Assembly Speaker post

An advocate by profession, Rahul Narwekar, who had been associated with the Sena as well as the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in the past, joined the BJP in the run-up to the October 2019 Maharashtra Assembly elections.

Written by Shubhangi Khapre | Mumbai |
Updated: July 3, 2022 7:45:42 pm
Rahul Narvekar flashes the victory sign as he arrives to attend a special session of Maharashtra Assembly, at Vidhan Bhavan in Mumbai, Sunday, July 3, 2022. (PTI)

The first-time Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA, Rahul Narwekar, 45, filed his nomination as the party’s candidate for the election to the Speaker’s post in the Maharashtra Assembly on Friday. A day after forming the government with the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena breakaway group, the BJP’s decision to name Narwekar for the coveted post has taken many by surprise.

An advocate by profession, Narwekar, who had been associated with the Sena as well as the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in the past, joined the BJP in the run-up to the October 2019 Maharashtra Assembly elections. The saffron party fielded him from the upmarket Colaba constituency in South Mumbai, which he won. He is currently the state BJP’s media in-charge too.

The election to the Speaker’s post, if required, will be held on July 3, when a two-day special session of the Assembly convened for the new Shinde-led government to prove its majority begins.

Narwekar had quit the Sena after a 15-year-long association. In 2014, he was an aspirant for a state Legislative Council seat which the Sena denied to him.

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Soon afterwards, he quit the Sena to join the Sharad Pawar-led NCP. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, he contested from the Maval constituency on the NCP’s ticket, but lost. Subsequently, he switched to the BJP and got elected as its Colaba MLA.

In a clear departure from the political trend and past precedents of nominating a senior and experienced leader for the Speaker’s post, the BJP’s move to pick Narwekar for the key job has surprised state political circles. BJP insiders however said, “Narwekar was chosen because he is well versed with legal and legislatives complexities. In the current political scenario his expertise will help in conducting the state Assembly.” Party sources also maintained that despite being a first-time MLA, Narwekar has been an experienced leader as he has worked with various parties for a long time.

Politics also runs in Narwekar’s family. He is the son-in-law of senior NCP leader Ramraje Nimbalkar, the former chairman of the Legislative Council. His father Suresh Narwekar was a councillor in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). His brother Makarand is a second-term councillor representing the ward no. 227 in the BMC, while his sister-in-law Harshata is also a councillor from the BMC’s ward number 226.

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First published on: 02-07-2022 at 10:48:32 am

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