The Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) elections will witness another contest between the BJP and Congress after the recently held Rajya Sabha elections.
A total of 11 candidates are contesting for 10 Maharashtra Legislative Council seats, with the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA allies) – Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress – fielding two candidates each. The BJP has nominated five candidates.
While nine candidates are assured of a victory given their current strength in the state assembly, the main contest will be between Congress’s Mumbai President Bhai Jagtap and BJP’s Prasad Lad for the 10th seat.
In the Rajya Sabha polls that was held for six seats on June 10, the Sena’s second nominee Sanjay Pawar, who was leading in the first round, was defeated by BJP’s Dhananjay Mahadik.
The BJP led by Devendra Fadnavis had clinched three seats by wooing MLAs of smaller parties and Independents and through clever vote allotment.
Taking no chances this time, Congress and NCP leaders last week held a meeting with Chief Minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray to discuss the strategy for the election to the state Legislative Council. The parties had lodged their MLAs in different hotels in the city to prevent poaching attempts.
Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday exuded confidence that there will be no split in the MVA and ruled out chances of cross-voting in the MLC polls.
“The defeat in the Rajya Sabha polls was unfortunate. The Shiv Sena votes were not split in the RS polls. We have an idea of what went wrong. MLC elections will show that there is no split among us,” he said. ” Thackeray said.
The effective strength of the 288-member Maharashtra House is reduced to 285 as three MLAs won’t cast their votes today.
While one Shiv Sena MLA Ramesh Latke died recently, two NCP MLAs Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik – currently in jail – were denied permission by the Bombay High Court to vote for the MLC polls.
Each candidate requires the support of at least 26 MLAs to win, and the 29 MLAs of smaller parties or independents will play a crucial role in the elections.
With 106 legislators, BJP can comfortably win four of the five seats. But for the fifth seat from which Prasad Lad is contesting, the party would need the support of defectors and independents.
The Sena with 55 legislators and NCP with 51 MLAs can easily win their two seats respectively, while the Congress with only 44 MLAs, will require at least eight first preference votes from Independents and other smaller parties for its second candidate Bhai Jagtap to get elected.