Mumbai, Jul 3 (IANS): As anticipated, the new ruling alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party's MLA, Advocate Rahul Narwekar was elected the new Speaker of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, here on Sunday.
Narwekar secured 164 votes and defeated his sole rival -- the Maha Vikas Aghadi-backed Shiv Sena candidate Rajan Salvi -- who secured 107 votes, in the 288-member House.
Shortly after the vote-count, Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal announced Narwekar as the new Speaker amid cheers from the treasury benches.
Thereafter, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, Congress President Nana Patole, Nationalist Congress Party's Ajit Pawar and other senior leaders of various political parties, escorted Narwekar to the prestigious Speaker's chair.
Later, in their speeches, Shinde, Fadnavis, Pawar congratulated and welcomed the new Speaker, and expressed hope that he would continue to take forward the glorious legislative traditions and ensure smooth functioning of the House.
The elections were held by a division of votes on the first of the two-day Special Assembly Session ordered by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, last weekend.
On Monday, Chief Minister Eknath S. Shinde, supported by the BJP, will seek a 'vote of confidence' in the new government sworn-in on June 30 after the collapse of the MVA government.