MUMBAI: 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 t he 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.