MVA will hold special workshop for legislators on how to cast vote to avoid confusion and avoid invalid vote
BJP wants to use money and central probe agencies to vitiate the environment, claims Sanjay Raut
However, MVA reminds BJP that about 20 legislators in its party from Congress and NCP and asks to keep its flock together
Mumbai: In the time-honoured 'tradition' followed by political parties on the eve of crucial electoral contests for entry to the upper house, Maha Vikas Aghadi legislators will be housed at a five-star hotel in the city, two days before polling to prevent their being poached. At stake are six seats of the Rajya Sabha, the fate of which will be decided on June 10.
A senior Shiv Sena minister recalled how, in the run-up to the formation of the MVA government in November 2019, legislators from the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress had similarly been housed in various five-star hotels, to avert their being poached by the BJP. The hoary old political strategy paid off and had enabled the MVA to prove its majority in the House, with 170 legislators.
“The MVA’s move is crucial, as the BJP will use all its resources to lure legislators from our camp for victory of its third candidate. The BJP is focusing on smaller parties, including the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi, Prahar Janshakti Party, Swabhimani Paksha and Krantikari Shetkari Party, who are with the MVA and besides, few Independents. The MVA has the support of nine Independents. In a bid to foil the BJP’s attempt at poaching or inducing these legislators, including Independents, to abstain, the MVA has decided to step up its vigil,” said the minister. He further noted, “Leaders of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress have faith and confidence in their legislators but they do not want to give any chance to the BJP to encroach into their territory and lure MVA legislators.”
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said that they wanted to “postpone the dates of the Rajya Sabha elections, so that no horse-trading is done”. He alleged that the BJP wanted to use its money power and Central probe agencies to vitiate the environment.
Another MVA Minister told The Free Press Journal, “The decision to house all legislators at a five-star hotel was taken at the meeting chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday evening. A workshop will be conducted by senior ministers, legislators and experts, on how to cast their vote as an individual legislator who will have to show the chit after they have voted for the respective party nominees. This is to avoid any confusion and avoid invalid votes. The MVA is confident of its four nominees winning - Sanjay Raut and Sanjay Pawar (Shiv Sena), Praful Patel (NCP) and Imran Pratapgarhi (Congress).” Further, he said, senior MVA leaders would be in constant communication with Independents and smaller parties.
Congress Minister Satej Patil, sending out a strong message to the BJP said that the latter should not forget that about 20 legislators in its fold were former legislators of the Congress and NCP. “The BJP should keep its flock together,” he noted.
The MVA’s decision came a day after more than 80 Congress legislators from Rajasthan camped at a hotel in Udaipur ahead of the RS elections for four seats. The step was taken as the party had feared horse-trading by the BJP.
According to the MVA, it has the support of 168 legislators, comprising the Shiv Sena (55), NCP (53), Congress (44), other parties (8) and Independents (8).
In the case of the BJP, which has 106 legislators, it has the support of one legislator each of the Jan Surajya Shakti and Rashtriya Samaj Paksha and five Independents. In all, the BJP has a strength of 113 legislators.
The quota is 41.01 votes for the election of one candidate.
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party legislator Abu Azmi, who has supported the MVA since its formation, has, in a letter, drawn CM Thackeray’s attention to the lack of any action by MVA government on the 5 per cent quota for the Muslim community, higher budgetary allocation for the Muslim community and their religious places, among other issues. Azmi’s letter aims to build pressure on the MVA ahead of the June 10 poll.
On the other hand, Bahujan Vikas Aghadi founder Hitendra Thakur has scoffed at reports suggesting his party’s support to the BJP nominee, saying that his party, with three legislators, will take a stand on voting on June 10. BJP nominee Dhananjay Mahadik had earlier met Thakur, to seek his party’s support.