MLC polls: BJP set to become single largest party in Council

MUMBAI: The ruling BJP is set to become the single largest party in the Maharashtra Legislative Council after the biennial elections to eleven seats in the Upper House of the state legislature on July 16.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) had last week announced election to the 11 EMLA (Elected by MLAs) constituency seats.

Of the 11 members whose term of membership will end on July 27, four are from the NCP, three from the Congress, two of the BJP and one each from the Shiv Sena and the Peasants and Workers Party of India (PWP).

Considering their numerical strength in the Legislative Assembly, the BJP can comfortably win five seats, the Shiv Sena three, while Congress-NCP can safely win one seat each and can also help sitting PWP MLC Jayant Patil to retain his seat.

The current party-wise strength in the 78-member legislative council is as follows: NCP 20, Congress 18, BJP 20, Sena 11, JD-U 1, PWP-I 1, PRP 1, Independents 6.

The 11 members whose term ends on July 27 are: Council Deputy Chairman Manikrao Thakare, Sanjay Dutt and Sharad Ranpise (all Congress), Sunil Tatkare, Jaideorao Gaikwad, Narendra Patil and Amarsing Pandit (NCP), Vijay Girkar and Minister for Dairy Development Mahadev Jankar (BJP), Anil Parab (Shiv Sena) and Jayant Patil (PWP).

As per the poll schedule announced by the ECI, the last date for filing nominations is July 5. The scrutiny of nomination papers will be taken up on July 6 and last date for withdrawal of nomination papers is July 9.

Polling will be held on July 16, while counting of votes and results will be declared in the evening on the same day.

The electoral college for the 11 EMLA constituency seats are the 289 members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs).

Since the elections are to be held for 11 seats, the quota required by contesting candidates to win is 25 votes.

The current party-wise strength in the 289 member Legislative Assembly is:- BJP 122, Sena 63, Congress 42, NCP 41, PWP 3, BVA 3, MIM 2, MNS 1, SP 1, BBM 1, CPI-M 1, RSP 1, Independents 7 and Nominated (Anglo-Indian) 1.

The BJP-Sena and its NDA allies together have a total vote share of about 134 votes, while the Congress-NCP and its allies have a vote share of about 92 votes.

In order to prevent cross-voting in this election held by secret ballot, the Congress and the NCP might prefer not to field more candidates than it can ensure comfortable victory.

The opposition Congress-NCP, with its current numerical majority has been controlling the proceedings in the Upper House.

Legislative Council Chairman Ramraje Naik-Nimbalkar belongs to the NCP, while Deputy Chairman Manikrao Thakare is from the Congress. The Leader of Opposition in the Council, Dhananjay Munde, also belongs to the NCP.