Mumbai: A day after the ruling Congress announced its second nominee for the May 21 election to nine seats of the Maharashtra Legislative Council, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has conveyed the polls should be "unopposed", senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said on Sunday.
Thackeray, who is not a member of either Houses of the state legislature, is one of the nominees for the elections, which became necessary after terms of the sitting MLCs ended on April 24.
"(Shiv Sena president) Uddhav Thackeray personally feels that the election for the nine seats of the Legislative Council take place unopposed. He expects so because he wants to dedicate most of his time to ongoing fight against coronavirus," Raut told reporters.
He, however, parried the questions on whether the Congress, an alliance partner in the Sena-led state government, fielding another candidate could lead to voting by MLAs, who forms the electoral college for the MLC elections.
"A similar question needs to be asked to BJP which has fielded four candidates. Like the Congress, the BJP has also fielded one extra candidate.
"Instead of asking the Congress to bring down its nominations from two to one, you should also ask the BJP that why it has fielded a fourth candidate," he said.
As the Congress had earlier decided to field only one candidate for the May 21 elections, there were nine candidates in the fray for as many seats.
But on Saturday evening, state Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat tweeted that Rajkishore alias Papa Modi will be party's second candidate besides Rajesh Rathod, a Jalna zilla parishad member whose name was announced from Delhi.
Thorat said he was confident that both will win.
Modi is the party's Beed district unit chief.
The 288-member Maharashtra Assembly forms electoral college for the polls, and a candidate needs 29 votes to win.
The Congress has 44 MLAs.
The last day of filing nomination is May 11, scrutiny of nominations will take place on May 12 and the last date of withdrawal of papers is May 14.
The Shiv Sena and NCP, other two ruling alliance partners, have so far announced two candidates each, while the opposition BJP has announced four candidates.
Thackeray and incumbent deputy Chairperson of the Legislative Council Neelam Gorhe are the nominees of the Sena while Shashikant Shinde and Amol Mitkari are the candidates of the NCP.
Former NCP MP Ranjitsinh Mohite Patil, Gopichand Padalkar, Praveen Datke and Ajit Gopchhade are the nominees of the BJP, which has the highest 105 MLAs.
The BJP nominees filed their nominations on Friday.
Thackeray will be filing his papers on May 11.