Cross-voting fears loom large over Maharashtra Legislative Council polls

For the first time in the history of Maharashtra Legislative Council, there would not be a single Muslim member from next month.
Last Updated : 10 July 2024, 10:23 IST

Follow Us :


Mumbai: Just around three months in the run up to the Vidhan Sabha polls in Maharashtra, the Maha Yuti and Maha Vikas Aghadi are gearing up for a major battle where the stakes are very high for both the sides.

The biennial elections for 11 seats of Maharashtra Legislative Council - where 12 candidates are in fray, is set to have a photo-finish and may trigger another round of political developments in this western Indian state.

The electoral college for this election is the 288-member Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, which currently has a strength of 274.

Each winning candidate would need a quota of 23 first-preference votes.

In June 2022, the biennial elections to the Council had set off a chain reaction in Maharashtra politics.

The period June 2022-June 2024 has seen splits in the 56-year-old Shiv Sena founded by late Balasaheb Thackeray and then headed by Uddhav Thackeray and 25-year-old NCP launched by Sharad Pawar.

The Thackeray-headed Pawar-crafted Maha Vikas Aghadi, the marquee anti-BJP coalition was toppled by the BJP in June-July 2022 with the help of Eknath Shinde who surprisingly became the chief minister with BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis as deputy chief minister. In June-July 2023, there was a split in the NCP with Ajit Pawar becoming the deputy chief minister.

Shinde and Ajit Pawar commands the real Shiv Sena and NCP parties, respectively, and the iconic bow-and-arrow and clock election symbols. Thackeray’s outfit is now known as Shiv Sena (UBT) and has been allotted the flaming torch symbol, while Sharad Pawar’s party is known as NCP (SP) and holds the man-blowing-turah symbol.

The Lok Sabha elections of 2024 has changed the political scenario in favour of MVA and hence it has fielded an additional candidate with chances of cross-voting. However, the BJP-led coalition is making all efforts to ensure that the flock is together as the MVA has sent out feelers to Shiv Sena and NCP MLAs.

The Maha Yuti-NDA, which is capable of winning nine seats, has fielded nine candidates.

The five BJP candidates are former minister and veteran OBC leader Pankaja Munde, Yogesh Tilekar, the president of Bharatiya Janata Party OBC Morcha, Dr Parinay Phuke, a former minister, Amit Gorkhe, former Chairman of the Lokshahir Anna Bhau Sathe Development Corporation and Sadabhau Khot, a veteran farmers leader and President of Rayat Kranti Sanghatana, who is an ally of BJP.

The Shiv Sena fielded Krupal Tamhane Bhavana Gawali, who were dropped from Ramtek and Yavatmal-Washim, respectively, in the Lok Sabha elections.

The NCP fielded Shivajirao Garje and Rajesh Vitekar.

From the MVA-I.N.D.I.A. opposition bloc, three candidates are in fray.

The Congress has renominated Dr Pradnya Satav, the wife of late Congress leader Rajeev Satav, who was close to Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi.

The Sharad Pawar-led NCP (SP) has decided to support Jayant Patil, the president of Peasants and Workers Party of India (PWP).

Thackeray sprang a surprise by nominating Milind Narvekar, his Man Friday.

Narvekar, who has connections cutting across party lines, is capable of managing the extra votes MVA may need, however, the BJP is trying to check his moves.

“The smaller parties and independent candidates who are supporting either the government or the opposition have the key to who would win the polls,” informed sources said, adding that the Maha Yuti and Maha Vikas Aghadi have series of meetings with its MLAs and extra sessions with those who could be vulnerable.

The retiring members are BJP's Vijay Girkar, Nilay Naik, Ramesh Patil, Ramrao Patil, Shiv Sena's Dr Manisha Kayande, NCP's Abdullah Khan Durrani, and Rashtriya Samaj Paksha's Mahadev Jankar from the Maha Yuti.

From the MVA, Congress' Dr Wajahat Mirza and Dr Pradnya Satav are retiring, along with Shiv Sena (UBT)'s Anil Parab and Jayant Patil of the Peasants’ from Workers’ Party of India.

Council won't have any Muslim member for the first time

For the first time in the history of Maharashtra Legislative Council, there would not be a single Muslim member from next month. Two of the MLCs - Dr Wajahat Mirza and Abdullah Khan Durrani of the NCP are retiring on 27 July along with nine other members of the Upper House. 

Several Muslim politicians, particularly from the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi are annoyed. However, the leadership of the three parties has assured to consider names and nominate Muslim candidates in the next round of Council polls. 

Some of the probabilities of the upcoming polls

- On its own strength, the Maha Yuti (NDA), which has the support of over 200 MLAs can win nine seats

- The Maha Vikas Aghadi (I.N.D.I.A.) can win two seats easily, however, it could fall short of six votes to win the third seat

- The independents/smaller parties hold the key to this election

Published 10 July 2024, 10:23 IST

Follow us on :

Follow Us