A legal tangle is likely to see chief minister Prithviraj Chavan making a backdoor entry in the state legislature soon. Chavan’s chances of contesting the by-poll elections to the legislative council seat that was vacated by state Congress general secretary Sanjay Dutt depends on the Bombay high court’s directive on an election petition filed by ex-Shiv Sena legislator Anil Parab.
Parab challenged the election of the 10 MLCs last year saying that the four suspended MLAs of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena were allowed to vote. Dutt was one of the elected MLCs.
The Election Commission of India has asked for the court’s permission to issue a notification to the council poll. The case will come up for hearing on Wednesday. The HC’s permission will be crucial because Chavan needs to get elected to the legislature within six months of assuming the office. This period ends on May 11.
The election commission will need time to complete the election procedure. Chavan faces an unforeseen crisis because his party failed in convincing legislators to vacate a place for the CM. Dutt volunteered to resign last month when many senior leaders of the Congress turned down the party’s request.
If the court does not issue permission, Chavan will have to seek the governor’s nomination to the upper house.
Before that, one of the six nominated MLCs of the Congress will have to resign for the CM. This process will not take much time. And if both ways fail, Chavan will have to resign and take his oath again with his council of ministers so that he gets an additional six months.
Congress leaders were confident of getting the court’s nod. “Parab has not challenged one particular election but all, including his own party candidates. One of the elected MLCs belongs to his own party. And we are confident that the court or the election commission will not create any problem because a constitutional head of the state will contest this poll,” said a senior Congress requesting anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.