The biennial elections to the state Legislative Council will see a keen fight between 11 candidates vying for 10 seats.
On Thursday, the last day for withdrawal of nominations, Kanahiyalal Gidwani, an old time Congress worker, withdrew his candidature leaving Vijay Sawant, a supporter of Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, as the party’s only Independent but sponsored candidate.
The move is expected to make it easier for the party to bag four seats. Chavan wants to ensure that Sawant, a rival of Narayan Rane, wins.
“My party seniors, Chavan, Rane, Kripashankar Singh, asked me to withdraw from the Council polls and I agreed,’’ Gidwani told Hindustan Times.
Gidwani has retained his candidature to the Rajya Sabha.
The Congress has three official nominees — Dipti Chaudhary, Hussain Dalwai and Sanjay Dutt. The Nationalist Congress Party has fielded Ramraje Nimbalkar, Vinayak Mete and Prakash Binsale.
The Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have two candidates each. The BJP has fielded Shobhatai Fadnavis and senior leader Gopinath Munde’s nephew Dhananjay Munde.
The Sena’s candidates are Diwakar Raote and Anil Parab.
Political observers said the results will depend on the support of 13 Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) legislators.
The Congress and NCP will have to woo the independents and MNS legislators to ensure maximum seats.
The ruling alliance, however, met at Chavan’s residence late on Wednesday night to arrive at an understanding.
“We will not upset each other’s candidates’ chances. Victory of Congress’ fourth candidate will not be at the cost of NCP’s third,’’ said a NCP state functionary.
The 288 members of the Assembly will vote on June 10 to elect the 10 candidates. Principal secretary of the legislature, Anant Kalse, said voting will be through proportional representation by single transferable vote where it will take 27 votes for a candidate to get elected.
The single transferable vote is a preferential voting system in which votes are initially allocated to an elector's most preferred candidate and after candidates have been elected or eliminated, surplus or unused votes are transferred according to the voters’ stated preferences.
Voting is by secret ballot.