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After Rajya Sabha feat, BJP trumps MVA in Maharashtra vidhan parishad elections, gets 5 elected

Elections for 10 legislative council seats in Maharashtra were held Monday. While Shiv Sena & NCP had 2 candidates each elected, Congress could ensure victory for only 1 of its 2 nominees.

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Mumbai: After a humiliating defeat in the Rajya Sabha elections earlier this month, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government (MVA) in Maharashtra received another setback Monday, this time in the vidhan parishad (state legisative council) elections.

After winning three of six Rajya Sabha seats from Maharashtra for which elections were held 10 June, the BJP Monday managed to get all its five candidates — Pravin Darekar, Ram Shinde, Shrikant Bharatiya, Uma Khapre and Prasad Lad — elected to the Maharashtra legislative council.

Meanwhile MVA partner Congress failed to get one of its nominated candidates, Chandrakant Handore, a Dalit face, elected, owing to cross voting by at least three MLAs each from MVA partners Shiv Sena and Congress, and a few more from its smaller alliance partners.

Elections for 10 legislative council seats in Maharashtra were held Monday. While the MVA had fielded six candidates — two each by alliance partners Shiv Sena, Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) — the BJP nominated five.

Each candidate for the legislative council needed 26 votes to win the election. While Shiv Sena has 55 MLAs, NCP has 51 (since two of its MLAs Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh are in judicial custody and facing trial for separate money laundering cases, and were not allowed to cast their votes) and Congress 44 MLAs.

Meanwhile, the BJP which has 106 MLAs in the assembly, received a total of 134 votes for its five candidates, by securing votes from independent members, smaller parties, as well as some votes from the MVA camp.

Speaking to reporters after Monday’s results were announced, BJP leader and leader of opposition in the Maharashtra assembly, Devendra Fadnavis, said, “I want to thank all MLAs from all parities and independents who helped us and ensured a win for our fifth candidate. We secured 134 votes. This is more than the votes we got during the Rajya Sabha elections, where we received 123 votes.”

Fadnavis, who is being credited by party colleagues for BJP’s performance in the election, added, “The MVA lacked coordination and the MLAs don’t trust the government. There is anger amongst them. We didn’t have a single vote (strength) for our fifth candidate, but still got more votes than both Congress candidates.”

The Shiv Sena’s Sachin Ahir and Amshya Padvi and the NCP’s Eknath Khadse and Ramraje Nimbalkar managed to win the seats for which they had been nominated, but while the Congress’ Handore failed to win the required number of votes, its second candidate Bhai Jagtap, managed to win only in the second preference.

For legislative council elections, voters indicated their preference for candidates by raking them first and second.

Following the declaration of results Monday, Yashomati Thakur, Maharashtra’s minister for women and child development and a Congress leader, took to social media to say that the Congress will have to do some introspection as their MLAs cross voted. “This is a very serious matter and will discuss this with our high command. Going forward we will try to have more coordination within the government.”

Also read: Win or lose, Opposition is weaker — Why BJP has been fielding extra candidates in RS, MLC polls

Delay in counting

This is the second time within a span of two weeks that the BJP has managed to trump the ruling MVA in Maharashtra.

Of the six Rajya Sabha seats from Maharashtra for which voting was held on 10 June, the BJP had the capacity to comfortably elect candidates for two, while the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress could elect for one each.

However, the BJP fielded three candidates, Piyush Goyal, Anil Bonde and Mahadik. The Shiv Sena fielded two candidates, Sanjay Raut and Sanjay Pawar, while the Congress fielded Imran Pratapgarhi and the NCP, Praful Patel. While Goyal, Bonde, Raut, Pratapgarhi and Patel sailed through on their own parties’ strength, there was a bitter battle for the sixth seat between BJP’s Mahadik and Shiv Sena’s Pawar.

In a major setback for the MVA, the BJP pulled through, with 41 votes for Mahadik, as compared to just 33 for Pawar. The BJP could manage this by not only keeping its MLAs together, but also managing to sway votes of independent candidates and smaller parties, on which the MVA too had been counting.

As in the Rajya Sabha elections, counting was delayed Monday owing to objections raised against some votes.

Voting was held between 9 am and 4 pm at the Vidhan Bhawan in Mumbai and counting was to have started at 5 pm, but was delayed for two hours, after the Congress objected to votes cast by two ailing BJP MLAs, Mukta Tilak and Laxman Jagtap, on the ground that they took help of an assistant while voting.

Both Jagtap and Tilak are facing serious health issues and were brought to cast their votes in ambulances from Pune, but the Congress questioned if they could sign the ECI register, why did they need the help of assistants to cast their votes.

The objection was finally dismissed and counting began around 7 pm.

When the validation of votes started, the returning officer invalidated two votes — those of the NCP’s Ramraje Nimbalkar and BJP’s Uma Khapre — after objections were raised by leaders of the respective parties. This again delayed the counting process by a little over an hour.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

Also read: How BJP is using Rajya Sabha and Maharashtra MLC polls to bring ‘MVA cracks’ to the fore


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