How BJP and Shiv Sena are luring independent MLAs and why their votes are crucial

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Rajya Sabha elections: How BJP and Shiv Sena are luring independent MLAs and why their votes are crucial | FPJ

The Shiv Sena and BJP will battle it out for the sixth seat of Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra as none of the seven candidates in the fray – four of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) and three of the BJP – withdrew their nominations on Friday.

Now, as per the report by the NDTV, both the parties are trying to win over independent MLAs and smaller parties who will play a imporatnt role in the result.

The state government is promising swift disbursal of MLA funds and support in developmental works in their constituencies while the BJP has offered the Central government’s support in infrastructure development, and also to keep central investigation agencies away.

The election will be held on June 10. This will be for the first time in more than two decades that the state will see election to the Upper House of the Parliament.

The last such election had taken place in 1998 when Congress candidate Ram Pradhan lost despite the party having enough numbers.

But in 1998 the election was held through secret ballot, while this time the voters (MLAs) will have to show their vote to the party whip before dropping it in the ballot box.

The deadline to withdraw the nominations was 3 pm on Friday.

Who are the candidates?

The BJP has fielded Union minister Piyush Goyal, Anil Bonde and former MP Dhananjay Mahadik, while Shiv Sena has put up two candidates – Sanjay Raut and Sanjay Pawar.

NCP has renominated Praful Patel, while Congress has fielded Imran Pratapgarhi.

The fight for the sixth seat is between the BJP’s Mahadik and Sena’s Sanjay Pawar.

Efforts to avoid elections did not succeed

In the morning, a trio of NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal, Sunil Kedar of the Congress and Anil Desai of the Shiv Sena (all from the ruling MVA) met BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis here to see if an election could be avoided.

The MVA delegation told Fadnavis that the ruling combine will facilitate the election of one more BJP candidate in the the Legislative Council elections if the saffron party withdrew its third candidate, said Bhujbal.

“We proposed that BJP withdraw its third candidate to facilitate unopposed election to the Rajya Sabha and in return can take one additional seat to the Legislative Council, where biennial elections to 10 seats are scheduled later this month,” he told reporters.

“But Fadnavis gave a counter-offer saying the MVA withdraw its fourth candidate for Rajya Sabha and take additional seat in the Legislative Council. So election to Rajya Sabha looks inevitable after two decades. The fight will be between Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Pawar and BJP’s third candidate Mahadik,” he said.

One candidate each of the Sena, NCP and Congress will get elected safely as party whip is binding on the voter-MLAs, Bhujbal added.

Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil said state BJP leaders discussed the MVA’s offer with the central leadership, but eventually the party decided to contest three seats.

What do the numbers say and how much votes from independents count?

In the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, Shiv Sena has 55 MLAs, NCP 53, Congress 44 and BJP 106. Bahujan Vikas Aghadi has three MLAs, Samajwadi Party, AIMIM, Prahar Janshakti Party two each, CPI(M), MNS, PWP, Swabhimani Party, Rashtriya Samaj Party, Jansurajya Party, Krantikari Shetkari Party have one each. There are 13 independents, and there is one vacancy due to the death of Sena MLA Ramesh Latke. Two of NCP MLAs – Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh – are in jail.


“The BJP knows how to win such elections….both sides are relying on the votes of independent MLAs. We have contacted many of them and we are confident of winning the third seat as well,” Chandrakant Patil told reporters.


The winning quota for a candidate is 40.01 votes. The voters have to specify the preference of candidates. If a candidate fails to secure the sufficient number of votes in the first round of counting, then his or her second preference votes are counted.


“There have been instances in the past where due to preferential voting, a key candidate lost the election and a comparatively newer one got elected. It may happen this time as well,” the BJP leader said.


“We have 12 surplus votes of our own. We also have good communication with the independents and small parties,” Patil added.


Asked about Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray holding a meeting with independent MLAs and providing them accommodation in a hotel in Mumbai, Patil said, “Gone are the days when such tactics were useful.” Meanwhile, AIMIM MP Imtiaz Jaleel claimed that “parties contesting the election” have approached its two MLAs, but his party will take decision on its stand on June 6.


“We will have a party meeting in Nanded on June 6 in the presence of party president Asaduddin Owaisi. There we will decide our stand. The decision cannot be taken by me or the two MLA’s,” he told reporters in Aurangabad.


Former state home minister Anil Deshmukh, currently in jail in a money laundering case, on Friday approached a special court here seeking bail for one day for casting his vote in the Rajya Sabha elections.


“Being a standing MLA, the applicant is a member of the Electoral College for election of members to the Rajya Sabha. The applicant is desirous to exercise his franchise and cast his vote,” his application said. The court sought a reply from the ED and posted the matter for hearing on June 6.

(With inputs from agencies)

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