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Eknath Shinde maintains that he is Sena’s Legislature Party leaderMumbai:
Maharashtra Assembly will elect its new speaker today ahead of the test of strength on Monday when the new government will have to prove majority in the house. Here are the top 10 updates on this big storyShiv Sena MLA Rajan Salvi will face off with BJP legislator Rahul Narvekar for the post of speaker in today’s election. While Mr Narvekar represents Colaba Assembly constituency in Mumbai, Mr Salvi is the MLA from Rajapur segment in the Ratnagiri district.The post of Assembly Speaker has been lying vacant since Nana Patole of Congress resigned in February 2021 to become his party’s state unit president. Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal was officiating as the acting Speaker in the meantime. The election for the post of Assembly Speaker is crucial in view of the recent turn of events in the state. Legal experts say that the Speaker may dismiss the disqualification proceedings against 16 rebel MLAs, including newly sworn-in Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. The disqualification notices were issued to them by Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal last month.Further, if the Speaker recognises the Shinde faction as the “real” Shiv Sena, the group will not be required to merge with any other political party, experts say. Eknath Shinde maintains that he is Sena’s Legislature Party Leader as he enjoys 2/3rd majority.The Eknath Shinde government will face the test of strength in the assembly on Monday. Mr Shinde returned to Mumbai last evening along with 50 MLAs, including 39 Sena rebels.On Friday, Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray removed Mr Shinde as the party leader for “anti-party activities”. The Shinde faction says it will challenge the decision as it is the “real” Sena now.After the Mr Shinde camp managed to form the government with the BJP’s help, the battle has now moved to taking control of the Shiv Sena, the party founded by Mr Thackeray’s father Bal Thackeray.Uddhav Thackeray resigned as the Chief Minister on Wednesday after the Supreme Court refused to stay the no-trust vote in the house that was ordered by GovernorThe Supreme Court will on July 11 hear the plea of Shiv Sena chief whip Sunil Prabhu seeking suspension of 16 rebel MLAs, against whom disqualification pleas are pending. On the same day, the top court will also hear the petitions moved by the Shinde faction challenging their disqualification.Last month, the Supreme Court extended the deadline given to the rebel MLAs to file their responses to the disqualification notices till July 12. The Shinde faction in its plea had claimed that the Deputy Speaker can’t decide on their disqualification as a no-confidence motion was pending against him. 



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