Maharashtra: Congress-NCP to lose two big posts in Upper House

Mumbai: After the biennial poll on July 16 for 11 posts in the Upper House from the elected MLA constituency, opposition parties Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress will lose the two presiding posts of chairman and vice-chairman of the Upper House. The number of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members will increase from the existing 17 to 21 and the party may stake a claim to the post of chairman. NCP’s Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar will have to vacate the post after the ongoing monsoon session concludes.

Eleven members of the Upper House will be retiring on July 27 and thereby necessitating the poll, which has been announced by the election commission. All candidates will file their nominations on Thursday. Among the outgoing members, four are from NCP, three from Congress, one each from the BJP and Shiv Sena, the Peasants and Workers’ Party (PWP) and the Rashtriya Samaj Party (RSP). Mahadeo Jankar, minister for dairy development and RSP chief was elected member of legislative council (MLC) from BJP quota. BJP has given a ticket to Jankar for the July 16 election.

Going by its strength in the Assembly (Lower House), the BJP can win five seats and the Sena two. In alliance, the Congress and the NCP can easily win three seats. The quota to elect the candidate is of 25 votes. The BJP has repeated Vijay alias Bhai Girkar, who hails from Dalit community. Apart from Jankar, BJP has given tickets to Nilay Naik from Yetomal. Naik is the grandson of former chief minister Vasantrao Naik and the cousin of former Congress minister Sudhakarrao Naik. He belongs to the Banjara community.

BJP’s fourth candidate, Ramesh Narayan Patil from Thane, is a leader of the Koli community, which has a stronghold in Thane, Mumbai and Raigad. The fifth BJP candidate is Ram Patil Ratolikar from Nanded and belongs to the Maratha community. Congress has given tickets to the outgoing group leader of the party in the Upper House and Dalit leader Sharad Ranpise and Vajahat Mirza from Nagpur. Babajani Durrani from Parbhani is the NCP’s candidate.

The Sena has yet to name its candidates. The party will continue with outgoing MLC Anil Parab. There are several aspirants in the fray for the second ticket, including Milind Narvekar, secretary of the party. If the BJP will not field its six candidates, the election will be unopposed. However, a party source claimed that with the help of surplus votes of the Sena and Independents, BJP may opt to field a sixth candidate.

The retirees include Jaydeep Gaikwad, Narendra Patil, Amarsinh Pandit, Sunil Tatkare (NCP); Manikrao Thakare, Sanjay Dutt, Sharad Ranpise (Congress); Vijay alias Bhai Girkar (BJP); Anil Parab (Shiv Sena), Mahadev Jankar (RSP) and Jayant Patil (PWP). Meanwhile, as BJP’s tally will be more than that of the NCP, Nimbalkar will lose the chairman’s post. NCP’s strength will come down from the present 22 to 19 while that of the Congress will come down from 19 to 18. The Sena’s numbers will go from 9 to 10. As Congress has not given a ticket to vice-chairman Manikrao Thakare, this post will remain vacant and based on numbers, Sena will claim this post.

According to BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari, the party will be able to pass those bills in the Upper House, which till date have remain stuck because of the opposition’s majority until now.

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