As voting was underway on Monday for the elections to 10 seats in the Maharashtra Legislative Council, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut expressed confidence that all six nominees of the ruling allies will win the polls.
All top leaders of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA-comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress), including Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Congress leaders Nana Patole, Balasaheb Thorat, Mallikarjun Kharge, were holding discussions with each other over the polls, Raut told reporters.
The polling process began at 9 am on Monday in the state Legislature complex in Mumbai and will end at 4 pm. The results will be declared in the evening.
A total of 11 candidates are in the fray for the 10 seats, with the MVA allies Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress fielding two candidates each. The BJP has nominated five candidates.
The state MLAs form the electoral college for the MLC elections "All official candidates of the three parties of the Maha Vikas Aghadi will win," Raut said.
The role of Independents and smaller parties is being seen as crucial since the MVA is facing the challenge of getting all its six candidates elected to the Legislative Council, after being outwitted by the opposition BJP in the recent Rajya Sabha elections in Maharashtra.
Smaller parties and Independents account for 25 MLAs in the House.
The Shiv Sena has nominated Sachin Ahir and Amshya Padvi, a party functionary from the tribal-dominated Nandurbar district.
The NCP has fielded Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar and former minister Eknath Khadse, who had quit the BJP to join the Sharad Pawar-led party.
The Congress has fielded Mumbai Congress chief Bhai Jagtap and former minister Chandrakant Handore.