Maharashtra's Competitive Showdown: 14 Candidates Vie For 11 Legislative Council Seats

Maharashtra's Competitive Showdown: 14 Candidates Vie For 11 Legislative Council Seats

Independents Arun Jagtap and Ajay Singh Sengar have also entered the race, adding further complexity to the election.

RUCHA KANOLKARUpdated: Wednesday, July 03, 2024, 02:36 AM IST
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Maharashtra Legislative Council | PTI Photo

Mumbai: The upcoming election for 11 Legislative Council seats, scheduled for July 12, has taken an unexpected turn. Initially presumed to be an uncontested election, it now promises to be a fiercely competitive battle, with 14 candidates vying for 11 seats by the close of nominations on Tuesday.

Prominent political figures have thrown their hats into the ring, signaling a high-stakes contest. Among them are BJP's Pankaja Munde, Shiv Sena UBT's Milind Narvekar, and NCP's Rajesh Vitekar. The BJP, a major player in the ruling coalition, has fielded five candidates, including Munde, Parinay Phuke, Sadabhau Khot, Amit Gorkhe, and Yogesh Tilekar. This move is seen as a strategic effort to bolster Munde's political career and strengthen the party's position ahead of the upcoming assembly elections.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Shiv Sena, each contributing two candidates, have nominated Shivajirao Garje and Rajesh Whitekar, and Kripal Tumane and Bhavana Gawali
, respectively. Notably, both Tumane and Gawli were previously denied tickets for the Lok Sabha elections but have now been politically rehabilitated.

On the opposition front, the Mahavikas Aghadi (MVA) has put forward three candidates: Congress MLA Pragya Satav, Jayant Patil of the Shetkari Kamgar Party, and Milind Narvekar from the Shiv Sena Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray Party. Narvekar, known for his extensive political network, is a particularly intriguing candidate, with analysts speculating on the potential surprises his candidacy might bring.

Independents Arun Jagtap and Ajay Singh Sengar have also entered the race, adding further complexity to the election. With a total of 14 candidates for 11 seats, it is clear that the election will not be uncontested under any circumstances. Observers are keen to see which three candidates will withdraw their applications, as this will determine the final lineup for the election.

Vote Quota and Potential Cross-Voting
The election's tightness is underscored by the established quota of 23 votes required for victory. Currently, Congress holds 44 votes, the Shiv Sena Thackeray faction 16, and Sharad Pawar's NCP faction 13, totaling 73 votes. This ensures a clear path to victory for all three MVA candidates, provided there is no cross-voting. However, the specter of cross-voting looms large, a concern not confined to the opposition alone but shared by the ruling coalition.

The BJP, with 103 MLAs, can comfortably elect four candidates. Ajit Pawar's NCP, with 42 MLAs, needs an additional four votes to secure both its candidates' victories. Eknath Shinde's Shiv Sena, with 50 MLAs, faces no such hurdles for its two candidates.

The Grand Alliance's Dilemma
Despite the combined strength of 195 MLAs among the ruling Grand Alliance's three constituent parties, the math allows for the election of only eight candidates. This leaves one candidate at risk of defeat unless independent MLAs can be swayed or opposition MLAs defect—a scenario deemed unlikely given recent political shifts post-Lok Sabha elections. The true extent of cross-voting and its impact will only be revealed once the results are declared.

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