Political parties in Maharashtra will have to gear up for the biennial Rajya Sabha and Legislative Council polls soon after next month's local bodies elections in the state, with union ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh and Rajiv Shukla among those seeking reelection.
Union science and technology minister Deshmukh, union minister for parliamentary affairs Shukla, both from Congress, are among the six Rajya Sabha MPs from the state whose membership ends on April 2.
The other leaders are -- Govindrao Adik and Ranjit Sinh Mohite Patil (both NCP), Bal Apte (BJP) and Manohar Joshi (Shiv Sena).
Since the RS polls are through open ballot and the vacancies are to be filled from the 289-member Legislative Assembly quota, the elections are likely to be unopposed.
The real test will be for membership to the Legislative Council where four vacancies will have to be filled from the self government local bodies -- Raigad-Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg, Osmanabad-Beed-Latur, Parbhani-Hingoli, Amravati) on May 31, two graduates constituencies (Konkan and Mumbai), and teachers constituencies of Mumbai and Nashik on July 7.
Elections will also be held for 11 Legislative Council constituencies to be elected from the MLAs quota on July 27.
Besides, there are two other vacancies with Congress MLC Hussain Dalwai being elected to the Rajya Sabha in place of Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, and NCP member Subhash Bhoir quitting his party to join Shiv Sena.