Urmila Matondkar may get a berth in Maharashtra Council

Bollywood actress Urmila Matondkar may get a berth in Maharashtra Legislative Council

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was authorised to send 12 names to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari

Bollywood actor Urmila Matondkar during her election campaign for the Lok Sabha polls. Credit: PTI Photo

Bollywood actress and activist Urmila Matondkar may get a berth in the Maharashtra Legislative Council.

Besides her, veteran politician Eknath Khadse, who switched over from the BJP to the NCP and farmers’ leader Raju Shetti are among the probables who are likely to enter Maharashtra’s Upper House through the Governor’s quota.

At the weekly Cabinet meeting on Thursday, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was authorised to send 12 names to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

Over the last couple of weeks, there were extensive discussions between the Shiv Sena, NCP, Congress and their smaller allies and within the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.

The three parties have agreed on a 4-4-4 formula for the 12 vacant seats.

The terms of the 12 legislators nominated to the Upper House under the Governor’s quota had expired in June.

The Governor nominates 12 MLCs for a tenure of six years based on the recommendations of the state Cabinet.

According to Article171(5) of the Constitution: “(5) The members to be nominated by the Governor under sub-clause (e) of clause (3) shall consist of persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as the following, namely: literature, science, art, co-operative movement and social service.”

There were several eligible candidates who were keen on joining the Council. However, only a few names were short-listed.

From the Shiv Sena's side, the probables are Milind Narvekar, the secretary and man Friday of Thackeray, actor Urmila Matondkar, TV presenter and Chairman of Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Temple Trust Aadesh Bandekar, and Shiv Sena leaders Sachin Ahir and Sunil Shinde.

The Sharad Pawar-led NCP has proposed the names of Eknath Khadse, the veteran politician who left the BJP and joined the NCP, farmers’ leader Raju Shetti, the founder of Swabhimani Paksha and singer Anand Shinde.

From the Congress side, the probables are party spokesperson and General Secretary Sachin Sawant, MPCC working President Muzaffar Hussain, former Rajya Sabha member Rajni Patil, Maharashtra Youth Congress President Satyajeet Tambe and veteran leader Naseem Khan. Incidentally, Tambe is the nephew of state Congress chief and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat.

When asked about Urmila Matondkar, Shiv Sena chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut said, “I have also heard about her name as one of the probables….the Cabinet has authorized the chief minister and he would take a final call and send the names to Governor.”

It may be recalled that ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Urmila had joined the Congress and unsuccessfully contested the polls against BJP’s Gopal Shetty. However, before the Vidhan Sabha polls, she resigned from the Congress because of infighting and power centres in the Mumbai unit.

Recently, when actor Kangana Ranawat, backed by the BJP, attacked the MVA government, the Thackerays and a large section of Bollywood, Urmila stood up and chose to reply.