Rajya Sabha polls: Huge setback for MVA as court denies 1-day bail to Nawab Malik & Anil Deshmukh

In the wake of the court's ruling denying bail to Malik and Deshmukh, MVA's strength was reduced to 166 and also quota to 40.67 votes

Sanjay JogUpdated: Thursday, June 09, 2022, 10:26 PM IST
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Rajya Sabha polls: Huge setback for MVA as court denies 1-day bail to Nawab Malik & Anil Deshmukh | Facebook
  • Independents and smaller parties are calling the shots as both MVA and BJP claim their support

  • MVA partners & BJP held meetings to fine-tune strategy & train legislators on how to cast their votes

  • COVID-19 affected legislators can vote between 3 pm and 4 pm as per ECI norms following due precautions

Mumbai: The Maha Vikas Aghadi on Thursday received a major jolt after the PMLA court rejected pleas by NCP leaders Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh to grant bail for a day to participate in the polling for six Rajya Sabha seats slated for June 10. The duo’s votes were critical for the election of four nominees of the ruling alliance comprising Sanjay Raut and Sanjay Pawar (Shiv Sena), Praful Patel (NCP) and Imran Pratapgarhi (Congress). BJP has fielded three nominees including Piyush Goyal, Anil Bonde and Dhananjay Mahadik.

In the wake of the court's ruling denying bail to Malik and Deshmukh, MVA's strength was reduced to 166 and also quota to 40.67 votes.

Malik, a Maharashtra Minister, has been in jail since his arrest in February by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case. Deshmukh, who is the former home minister, is also in jail on similar allegations. They had requested a day's bail to cast their vote in the Rajya Sabha election on Friday, but the court agreed with the Enforcement Directorate's argument that "prisoners do not have voting rights".

MVA is banking on the support from independents and smaller parties though Bahujan Vikas Aghadi with 3 MLAs has yet to reveal its strategy. On its part, BJP has claimed that it has sufficient votes especially from independents and smaller parties for the victory of three nominees. BJP has also assured legal aid if legislators from the ruling alliance indulge in the cross-voting.

‘’We were expecting that Malik and Deshmukh will be able to exercise their voting rights in the Rajya Sabha election tomorrow. However, we are disappointed with the court ruling,’’ said state NCP chief and Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil.

‘’We had demanded that a person who has been democratically elected and has not yet been convicted of a crime should have the right to vote. However, the court rejected the demand and deprived them of their right. Will not comment on the court's decision. The lawyers of Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh will decide on the next steps in this regard, noted Patil.

However, a senior NCP minister said that MVA partners along with independents and smaller parties have sufficient votes for the victory of four nominees.

Meanwhile, NCP, Shiv Sena and Congress today separately held training workshops for their legislators on how to cast their first and second preference votes to avoid confusion and invalid votes. On the other hand, BJP also held meetings of its legislators in the presence of former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who recovered from COVID-19 and union minister Ashwini Vaishnav who is the party's poll observer.

BJP legislator Ashish Shelar claimed that the party will comfortably win three Rajya Sabha seats from Maharashtra. Legislators shouted 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai', 'Vande Mataram' and 'Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Ki Jai' in support of Shelar’s statement. Legislators were trained on how to cast their votes.

When asked about the illness of two BJP MLAs, Shelar said, "We have taken special permission from the Election Commission of India (ECI) three days back to allow them to travel to Mumbai in a special ambulance. The MLAs are permitted to be accompanied by a person of their choice to cast their vote." "The ECI has a provision called tendered vote, where a legislator with some medical condition can vote with an assistant. It is not necessary for the legislator to appoint an MLA as his or her assistant," Shelar said.

Meanwhile, state legislature secretary Rajendra Bhagwat, who is presiding officer for RS poll, said COVID-19 affected legislators can cast their votes between 3 pm and 4 pm as per the ECI’s guidelines by following necessary safety precautions.

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