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Maharashtra legislative Council: BJP’s Sangli leader elected unopposed

The election was unopposed as the Congress did not field a candidate, who was to be elected by members in the legislative Assembly, as they did not have the numbers.

mumbai Updated: May 30, 2019 01:12 IST
Surendra P Gangan
Surendra P Gangan
Hindustan Times
mumbai news,BJP,congress
Bharatiya Janata Party’s Sangli district president Prithviraj Deshmukh.

Bharatiya Janata Party’s Sangli district president Prithviraj Deshmukh was on Wednesday elected unopposed to the legislative council for a post that fell vacant owing to the death of veteran Congress leader Shivajirao Deshmukh. The election of Deshmukh has helped the ruling BJP-Sena alliance get a majority in the upper house at the end of the government’s term.

The election was unopposed as the Congress did not field a candidate, who was to be elected by members in the legislative Assembly, as they did not have the numbers.

Until now, the Opposition had an upper hand in the legislative Council. This also meant the post of the chairman and deputy chairman of the Council were with the Congress-NCP. This, at times, made it difficult for the ruling parties to push their agenda in the upper house.

With this election, the ruling alliance has 35 members (BJP: 23, Shiv Sena: 12) against the Congress-NCP’s tally of 33 (NCP: 17, Congress: 16).

The ruling party now plans to claim the post of deputy chairman, although it still falls short of one member to dislodge the chairman, the post held by senior NCP leader Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar. The two top jobs in the legislative council now rest in the hands of the remaining two independent MLCs (Shrikant Deshpande and Dattatrey Sawant) representing teachers constituency, who were elected without the support of either ruling or opposition parties. “We have decided to schedule the election of the deputy chairman in the monsoon session, but are not yet sure about the post of chairman. It is not clear who the two independent MLCs will vote for. I am sure that our member will hold the deputy chairman’s post, which has been vacant for a few months,” said Vijay Girkar, senior BJP MLC.

Besides the four major parties, three members (one each from Lokbharti, Peasants and Workers Party and People’s Republican Party) are from the Opposition alliance, while a Rashtriya Samaj Paksha member is with the ruling combine.

Of the six independent MLCs, three have been elected to the house on support of the ruling alliance and are with the alliance. One independent was supported by the Congress-NCP in his election and is with the Opposition. “I am a Shiv Sainik and have been appointed as deputy chairman on Right To Education Advisory Council by the BJP government. I am with the ruling parties,” said Deshpande, adding he is one of the aspirants to the post of deputy chairman. Sawant, however, said he hasn’t decided on whom to support. Sharad Ranpise, Congress group leader in the upper house, said they have the numbers to save the post of chairman.

According to an official from the state legislature, a chairman can’t be dislodged without bringing a no-confidence motion against him. “To bring the motion, the ruling alliance should have the support of 40 members (one more than the half-way mark of the total strength of 78) and the alliance is falling short of one member. Independent MLC Prashant Paricharak, who has been supported by BJP, has been suspended for derogatory remarks against the wives of soldiers. His suspension goes in favour of the Opposition,” an official said. He said the election of deputy chairman is done from within the existing members, unlike the election of a chairman, making it easier for the ruling parties.

First Published: May 30, 2019 01:11 IST