Dr. Neelam Gorhe
Dr. Neelam Gorhe

The Maha Vikas Aghadi candidate Dr. Neelam Gorhe, who is the Shiv Sena deputy leader, was on Tuesday elected unopposed as the deputy chairperson of the Maharashtra Legislative Council. She was deputy chairperson of the upper house till her term ended in April and later in May she was re-elected to the state council.

Council chairman Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar announced that Gorhe was elected unanimously after the opposition BJP did not contest the election for the post on the last day of the two-day monsoon session of the state legislature.

Leader of the Opposition in the Council and BJP MLC Pravin Darekar, however, earlier objected to the scheduling of the election on Tuesday in view of the COVID-19 crisis. He said BJP had approached the Bombay High Court and wanted the election to be deferred till the high court delivers the ruling.

"We have told the HC through a petition that some of our MLCs (infected by COVID-19) will be deprived of their voting rights given by the Constitution if the election is held. The HC has scheduled a hearing in this regard on Thursday. Given the petition is pending before the court, the poll should not be held today,’’ said Darekar.

However, the chairman Ramraje Nimbalkar rejected Darekar’s plea contending the High Court does not have jurisdiction over the internal proceedings of the House. "The HC has not summoned me, the HC has not informed me (about the petition), said Nimbalkar. The chairman rejected the BJP's demand to defer the election.

The High Court does not have jurisdiction in the internal proceedings of the House. Hence, I will stick to my decision. "I will give my answer if there is any summon from the HC, the chairman said.

NCP MLC Shashikant Shinde moved the proposal of re-electing Gorhe, while Congress MLC Bhai Jagtap seconded it.

The BJP, which had named its MLC Bhai Girkar as its candidate for the poll, did not contest the election, following which the chairman declared Gorhe’s unanimous re-election.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who was introduced to the Upper House on being elected as its member, his deputy Ajit Pawar and others congratulated Gorhe.

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