In line with the wish of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the BJP has been making efforts to ensure that the election for 10 seats of the Legislative Council are held unopposed in the state. In view of the fierce horse trading which usually accompanies the elections, Fadnavis had expressed the desire for unopposed elections. Senior party sources said that five seats will be given to the BJP, two to the Shiv Sena, two to the NCP and one to Congress.

“The election for all the 10 seats of the Legislative Council will certainly be unopposed. We are discussing the names of candidates,” Raosaheb Danve, Maharashtra BJP president said. But he refused to divulge the names of the party members who are in the race to be candidates. Senior party leaders said that there has already been an elaborate discussion on this matter, but they would not like to disclose any names.

Sources aware of the developments said that the issue was discussed with party president Amit Shah recently when CM Fadnavis visited New Delhi. Sources said that Fadnavis also discussed the Cabinet expansion plan with the BJP’s central leadership.

An impending Cabinet expansion has been the talk of the town for months now. It is unlikely that there will be a Cabinet reshuffle, but many Cabinet ministers and ministers of state have been handling additional portfolios. That situation might change with a Cabinet expansion. Many small elements who had supported the BJP have been hoping for a ministerial berth through this expansion, which now seems likely in June.

In view of the fierce horse trading which usually accompanies the elections, Fadnavis had expressed the desire for unopposed elections.

Regarding the elections for  the Legislative Council, the Shiv Sena has already declared the names of Industries Minster Subhash Desai and Transport Minister Diwakar Raote. The party has also re-nominated Sanjay Raut, editor of its mouthpiece Saamna, for a fresh term in the Rajya Sabha.

Other political parties too seem to be in the mood for an unopposed election to the Legislative Council. The Congress and Shiv Sena have sent their nominations to the party leadership. The Nationalist Congress Party is yet to decide on the two candidates for the elections.

“We have not yet taken a call on it. It will be decided soon,” a party leader said. The NCP and the Congress are believed to have negotiated and reached a conclusion on seat distribution, whereby NCP will take two seats and the Congress will take one seat. The nominations for the two NCP seats are yet to be finalised, party sources said.

The Congress is likely to bat for Muzaffar Hussain getting re-elected. In a recently held meeting of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee, the recommendations for the candidates for Legislative Council and Rajya Sabha were finalised and sent to the party high command in New Delhi.

Sources within the party said that the recommendation of Muzaffar Hussain and Avinash Pandey has created unhappiness within the party, as many senior leaders were vying for the candidature.

“Usually a lot of horse trading happens during the election session, and it sends out a wrong signal to the people. Whatever be the condition, I can assure you 100% that the Legislative Council elections will be held unopposed,” a senior BJP leader said.

The polls are to be held on 10 June.


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