MLC polls: NCP ready with plan B for victory of two nominees in absence of Nawab Malik, Anil Deshmukh

Shiv Sena is in a comfortable position with 55 legislators in addition to its supporters, while Congress needs additional 10 votes

Sanjay JogUpdated: Friday, June 17, 2022, 09:04 PM IST
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Nawab Malik, Anil Deshmukh | Facebook

NCP's plan B is ready to ensure the victory of its two nominees in the state council election slated for June 20 especially after the high court denied bail to Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik to cast their votes. Both Deshmukh and Malik will approach the Supreme Court to challenge the Bombay high Court’s refusal to allow the temporary release to vote in the state council election. Besides, NCP with 51 legislators (excluding Deshmukh and Malik) is banking on the support of three associate members SS Shinde, Sanjay Shinde and Devendra Bhuyan taking the total to 54 considering the quota of 26 votes required per nominee.

Further, NCP hopes to mobilise at least three extra votes to ensure a comfortable victory of its two nominees - Maharashtra Legislative Council chairman Ramraje Nimbalkar and former minister Eknath Khadse.

A senior NCP minister told the Free Press Journal, ‘’A meeting took place on Friday morning in the presence of Nimbalkar, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, party MP Praful Patel and others to fine tune the party’s strategy for the victory of two nominees. NCP is mobilising three extra votes from independents and others so that party will be in a comfortable position with 56 to 57 votes which will pave the way for the victory of Nimbalkar and Khadse. Even though there will be secret ballot, party does not see any cross-voting.’’ He said the party has organised a meeting of legislators and associate members on June 18 (Saturday) at 7 pm to explain to them how to vote for the assigned candidates and take due care to avoid their votes becoming invalid.

Another NCP minister clarified that no meeting of Maha Vikas Aghadi comprising Shiv Sena, NCP, Congress and their supporters including Independents and smaller parties will take place ahead of polling on June 20. Instead, individual parties will meet and finalise their strategies for the victory of two candidates each. Shiv Sena has fielded Sachin Ahir and Aamasha Padvi while Congress nominees are Chandrakant Handore and Bhai Jagtap.

Jagtap said the party leaders met today and discussed its poll strategy adding that there has been proper coordination among three parties despite every party being busy getting its candidates elected to avoid another embarrassment after the defeat of Shiv Sena’s second nominee Sanjay Pawar in the recently held Rajya Sabha election. He further stated that Congress and NCP leaders together discussed transfer of excess votes. Jagtap will need at least 10 additional votes to sail through

Congress has convened meeting its legislators at 5 pm on Saturday.

Moreover, Chief Minister and Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray met party legislators on Thursday evening and asked them not to be complacent but remain alert during polling. Thackeray claimed that the Shiv Sena with 55 legislators supported by independents and associate members can easily win two nominees. However, he asked legislators to keep themselves away from relatives and friends during their hotel stay on Saturday, Sunday and Monday before leaving for the polling in the Vidhan Bhavan.

Meanwhile, BJP said it was confident to continue its victory march in the state council election with the victory of five nominees. Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis is supervising the party strategy while leader of opposition Pravin Darekar said the high court’s ruling denying bail to Malik and Deshmukh is a good sign for the party’s victory. BJP with 106 legislators has the support of 8 independents and smaller parties including MNS and it would need additional 16 votes for its fifth nominee.

BJP has fielded Darekar, Shrikant Bharathiya, Ram Shinde, Uma Khapar and Prasad Lad. BJP will house all its legislators in the five-star hotel in south Mumbai and will hold meetings tomorrow and on Sunday.

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