Eleven candidates were elected unopposed today to the Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC). The ruling Congress and its ally Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) won three seats each, while the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena won two each. The Peasants and Workers Party secured one seat.
Today was the last date for filing nomination for the election for 11 seats, which was necessitated following the expiry of the terms of 11 sitting members of the state council, is slated for July 25.
The Congress and NCP had fielded only three candidates each. Considering the party-wise strength in the 288-member state Assembly, a quota of 25 votes for each candidate was fixed. Congress with a strength of 82 seats and the support of 17 independents and smaller parties was mulling contesting four seats.
Similarly, NCP with 62 members and the support of 13 independents was keen to explore the option of fielding a fourth nominee.
Shiv Sena which has a strength of 46 seats nominated two candidates though it required 50 votes to get them elected. Similarly, BJP, which has 48 members, also nominated two candidates. The Congress and NCP’s decision not to nominate a fourth nominee made the election of all 11 members smooth.
Earlier Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan held talks with NCP chief and union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar about the MLC election and decided to field only three candidates each “in order to stop horse trading happening”, sources said.
Manikrao Thakre, Sharad Ranpise and Sanjat Dutt were the Congress candidates elected unopposed.
"The Congress party was totally against horse trading. Considering our strength, the party decided to contest three seats," Chavan told Business Standard:
He confirmed that he had raised the issue with Pawar. The chief minister, however, rejected reports that the Congress had reached an understanding with the Shiv Sena. "There is no truth in it. Besides, there is no link between the Shiv Sena's decision to extend support to UPA (United Progressive Alliance) Presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee and the Congress party's move to nominate three candidates in the council elections," he said.
A Congress minister, who did not want to be identified, however, said the party had taken a wise decision as several legislators, who had openly expressed their anguish and disappointment over the policy paralysis and indecision by the state government on key issues, may have taken an extreme step of voting against the party nominee and state Congress chief Manikrao Thakre.
"Thakre's defeat would have been a major embarassment for Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. Further, this would have given impetus for anti-Chavan lobby," the minister noted.