The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is planning to field former ministers Eknath Khadse, Pankaja Munde and Prithviraj Deshmukh for the legislative council election. It is also planning to field former Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ranjit Singh Mohite Patil as its fourth candidate.
BJP’s move to field a fourth candidate may force the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) to rethink their strategy to field a sixth candidate for the legislative council bi-enneial election. The Election Commission of India has scheduled the election for May 21. 288 members of the legislative assembly will vote for these nine seats. Efforts are going to avoid voting by fielding only nine candidates.
BJP has close to shortlisting Khadse's and Munde’s name, keeping in mind the possibility of revolt if they are not given an opportunity to contest this election. Prithviraj Deshmukh, BJP leader from Sangli, was elected unopposed in June last year when one seat fell vacant due to the death of Shivajirao Deshmukh, a Congress legislator. As he got a serve for only one year, BJP has decided to give him another term of six years.
Fight for one extra seat between BJP and MVA
Ranjit Singh Mohite Patil, son of senior NCP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Vijay Singh Mohite Patil, will be the fourth candidate of BJP. As per the vote quota, a candidate needs 29 votes to get elected to the council. Based on the votes, MVA has the open support of 169 members of the legislative assembly, which also includes legislators from smaller parties and independent legislators. Some of the members present may not vote or chose a neutral option.
BJP has 105 members and has support of some independent legislators. BJP will need 116 votes to win four seats. Meanwhile, MVA will need 174 votes, which means 5 more than their strength.
BJP believes that since Mohite Patil belongs to the stalwart leader’s family and has good connections with Congress and NCP legislators, he will be able to make few independent or ruling party legislators vote for him.
MVA will contest seat: Thorat
Congress state president Balasaheb Thorat announced on Wednesday that MVA will field a sixth candidate. Congress wants at least two seats out of these 9 seats. NCP is not ready to leave the claim on two seats. Congress and NCP are trying to bring independent and smaller parties legislators to vote for their sixth candidate. Shiv Sena wants this election to be unopposed, as this will mark the debut of Uddhav Thackeray in the legislative council. In coming days, there will be hard bargaining within MVA over this sixth seat. NCP has promised Congress that it will give it one more seat in the governor quota, as 12 seats are getting vacant in this quota next month.