Prabhu, Goyal in fray for RS elections to be held on June 11

  • Surendra P Gangan, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: May 27, 2016 00:39 IST

Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to field its two Union ministers and sitting MPs Piyush Goyal and Suresh Prabhu in Rajya Sabha elections for six seats to be held on June 11 from Maharashtra. For the remaining seat, Vinay Sahastrabuddhe and Shyam Jaju are in the fray.

Nationalist Congress Party will repeat its sitting MP Praful Patel,while Congress is likely to replace Sushilkumar Shinde with incumbent MP Avinash Pande.

Since the Haryana BJP unit has expressed its inability to repeat Prabhu as an RS MP when his tenure ends in next two months, the party has decided to field him from Maharashtra, alongwith Goyal.

For the 10 legislative council elections, the BJP has decided to field two candidates from four districts - Osmanabad, Satara, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg - where the party has no representation in the Legislative Assembly. Madhav Bhandari, Surjitsingh Thakur, Bal Mane and Pramod Jathar are in the fray for two seats. BJP will allocate three seats to three smaller allies RPI (A), Swabhimani Shetkari Paksha and Shivsangram.

Shiv Sena has decided to repeat it sitting MLCs and ministers Subhash Desai and Diwakar Raote. It is not clear if Congress will repeat it incumbent MLC Muzaffar Hussain or prefer former chief minister and senior Congress leader Narayan Rane for the only guaranteed seat it could win.

Meanwhile, burying the hatchets for the common gain, the four parties from two major alliances are likely to come together in the Legislative Council and Rajya Sabha elections being in next 15 days. In the course of bargain, the Congress is likely to demand the post of the deputy chairmanship of the council, while Shiv Sena may seek support of the BJP to win the legislative council seat to be elected from corporators in various civic bodies in Thane and Palghar districts.

Both the elections are important for ruling Bhartiya Janata Party as it has the opportunity to increase its strength in council and Rajya Sabha. Similarly, the Council elections are important for the Nationalist Congress Party as its three key leaders are retiring from the Upper House.Though the Congress leaders have been claiming that it would not support the NCP candidate and rather contest its second candidate, the top state leadership is may bargain with its estranged ally for the post of deputy chairmanship in Council.

“During the Congress Legislative Party meeting on Tuesday, most of the MLAs insisted on going alone in the election as the NCP had ditched it while electing chairman of the upper house last year. The MLAs also had said that the Congress should throw its weight around to garner 16 voters that are falling short to elect second seat. However, the high command is unlikely to go against NCP as it would send a wrong message in the state,” said a senior Congress office bearer.

NCP has been claiming that the both the traditional partners have decided to join hands in the council elections. “We have had cordial discussion on couple of occasions and the Congress has agreed to support our second candidate. The final decision would taken by top leaders of both the parties in Delhi shortly,” said NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik.

NCP, which has highest number of the members (28) in the council is likely to be proved highest loser in the elections as against four outgoing MLCs it would be able to elect t two seats. Chairman and deputy chairman of the council Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar, Vasant Davkhare and Leader of Opposition in the council Dhananjay Munde a swell as Prakash Binsale are retiring next months. Davkhare, who is facing Shiv Sena’s Ravindra Phatak for the council seat to be voted by 1,038 corporators from Thane and Palghar district civic bodies, is on sticky wicket.

The Shiv Sena has highest number of corporators and with the help of BJP it is confident about victory of its candidate.In the backdrop of the likelihood of Davkhare, the Congress hasdemanded the deputy chairmanship in the council.

For NCP, winning two seats of Nimbalkar and Munde would be prestigious. The NCP is short of about 13 votes to win the second seat, while Congress has additional 14 votes if it decides not to field its second candidate.

Sena has sizable additional votes which could be passed on to the BJP candidates in council and Rajya Sabha election. The Sena’s additional votes come in exchange of the support it needs in the council seat to be elected from Thane and Palghar.

“We may have been criticising each other in the interest of the commonman, we will fight all the election together as an alliance,” said Sena MP Anil Desai.

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