The ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi government and the opposition BJP will face its first electoral test in a little over a year's time on Tuesday when six seats of the Maharashtra Legislative Council goes to polls.
The six seats include three Graduates' constituencies, two Teachers' constituencies and one Local Bodies' seat.
While the polling is scheduled for December 1, the counting would be held on December 3.
For Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, who heads the tri-party alliance, it is a litmus test while for BJP it is a prestige issue.
However, Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Devendra Fadnavis and his counterpart in Council Pravin Darekar and state BJP President Chandrakant Patil are leaving no stones unturned.
The polls are being held at a time when the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government has just completed one year in office amid mounting problems of Covid-19 pandemic and fiscal management.
Thackeray and his friend-turned-bete noire are engaged in a bitter war of words – with both firing salvos at each other.
The six seats are Pune Division Graduates’ Constituency, Nagpur Division Graduates’ Constituency, Aurangabad Division Graduates’ Constituency, Amravati Division Teachers’ Constituency, Pune Division Teachers’ Constituency and Dhule-Nandurbar Local Bodies’ Constituency.
While BJP is contesting all the six seats, the Sharad Pawar-led NCP is contesting two seats and Congress three and Shiv Sena one seat.
It needs to be mentioned that the Dhule-Nandurbar polls were to be held on 1 April, however, it was postponed in the wake of the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic and the Lockdown.
The fight here is between Amrish Patel (BJP) and Abhijeet Patil (Congress). Patel, who was earlier a Congress legislator had switched over to the BJP. A politician, educationist and social worker, Patel hails from the family of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the first Deputy Prime Minister.
On the other hand, three MLCs from Graduates’ constituencies — Satish Chavan (NCP), Chandrakant Patil (BJP) and Anil Sole (BJP) while two MLCs from Teachers’ constituencies — Shrikant Deshpande (Independent) and Dattratray Sawant (Independent) retired on 19 July – and now with the Unlock having started the polls are being held.
In Pune Division Graduates’ seat, the main contest is between Sangram Deshmukh (BJP) and Arun Lad (NCP).
In Nagpur Division Graduate’ seat, the fight is between Sandeep Joshi (BJP) and Abhijeet Vanjari (Congress).
In Aurangabad Division Graduates’ seat, the contest was between Shirish Boralkar (BJP and Satish Chavan (NCP).
In Amravati Division Teachers’ constituency, the battle is between Dr Nitin Dhande (BJP) and Shrikant Deshpande (Shiv Sena).
In Pune Division Graduates’ seat, the fight is between Prof Jayant Asgaonkar (Congress) and Jitendra Pawar (BJP).