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Can win four seats in Rajya Sabha if Sena cooperates, say BJP leaders in Maharashtra

Six MPs from Maharashtra, including one from BJP, will complete their terms in April

mumbai Updated: Feb 25, 2018 00:30 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
mumbai,rajya sabha,elections
The Election Commission of India declared that the elections for 58 Rajya Sabha seats will be held on March 23.(HT file photo)

Will the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) try to win four of the six Rajya Sabha seats that are going to fall vacant in April this year? And will former chief minister Narayan Rane be one of its candidates?

These questions are doing the rounds after the Election Commission of India declared that the elections for 58 Rajya Sabha seats will be held on March 23.

Six Members of Parliament from Maharashtra – Rajeev Shukla and Rajani Patil from Congress; DP Tripathi and Vandana Chavan from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP); Ajaykumar Sancheti from the BJP; and Anil Desai from Shiv Sena – will complete their terms in April. The six new members from the state will be elected by the 288-member legislative assembly.

Currently, the BJP has a strength of 122 members in the state assembly, while the Shiv Sena, congress, and NCP have 63, 42, and 41 members, respectively. Going by the current strength of the parties in state assembly, the BJP can win three seats, while Shiv Sena, Congress, and NCP can win one each.

Party leaders told HT that the BJP can make the effort to win four seats only with the cooperation of the Sena, which is jointly in power in the state with the BJP.

“We can easily get three candidates elected in the polls as each one requires only 42 votes. We already have 122 votes, as well as the support of some smaller parties and independent MLAs. Our collective strength on the floor of the House is around 136. If the Sena decides to help us, we could get 31 more votes and make a bid to win one more seat. It will be a tough task as it will be open-ballot voting,” said a senior BJP leader.

The final decision will be taken by the chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, he added. The party leadership is also expected to deicide whether to induct Rane into the state government or give him a Rajya Sabha berth.

Madhav Bhandari, state BJP spokesperson, said, “We will follow whatever decision the high leadership takes.”

Ajaykumar Sancheti; human resource development minister, Prakash Javadekar; vice-president and Delhi in-charge, Shyam Jaju; and farmer leader Pasha Patel are believed to be among the probable candidates from the BJP. Like Sancheti, Javadekar, who was elected from the Madhya Pradesh constituency, will also complete his term in April.

Shiv Sena is likely to give Anil Desai, a close aide of party chief Uddhav Thackeray, a second term in the Rajya Sabha, said party leaders. Thackeray has called a meeting of all Sena MLAs on Monday.

First Published: Feb 25, 2018 00:28 IST