Sena-BJP showdown in upper House: Former allies field candidates for deputy chairperson post
Former allies Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party could come face to face during the election of the deputy chairperson of the legislative council on Tuesday. Sena’s Neelam Gorhe, who had been renominated by her party, is the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) candidate, while BJP has fielded former minister Vijay Girkar.
The ruling party has the support of 35 members, while BJP has the support of 25, including its smaller allies, in the 78-member House. The remaining 18 seats are vacant.
The MVA, which comprises the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress, have 14, nine and eight members, respectively. Two smaller parties—Peasants and Workers Party and Lok Bharati Party—have one member each and support the ruling alliance. BJP has 22 members and a member of Rashtriya Samaj Paksha backs them. There are four independents in the House.
The BJP is pinning its hopes on the four independent legislators. There are also chances that the BJP may withdraw its candidate, facilitating an unopposed election.
Legislative council chairman Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar announced the election on day one of the two-day monsoon session. The post has been vacant since April 24 after Gorhe’s term in the upper House ended. Gorhe, who was the deputy chairperson of the upper House, was re-elected as MLC in May.
On Monday, leader of opposition in the Council, Pravin Darekar (BJP) initially opposed the move to hold elections, stating that several members have not been able to attend and they would lose their right to vote.
The chairman on Monday directed deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar to see if both sides could find a candidate by consensus to fill the post unopposed. However, both sides could not arrive at a consensus and BJP wanted to field a candidate.