Council by-polls declared but CM’s election uncertain

Even as the schedule for the by-polls for two vacant seats of the state legislative council gets ready, uncertainty continues to loom over the election of Maharashtra chief minister and Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan into the state legislature.
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Updated on Jan 31, 2011 01:49 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByDharmendra Jore, Mumbai

Even as the schedule for the by-polls for two vacant seats of the state legislative council gets ready, uncertainty continues to loom over the election of Maharashtra chief minister and Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan into the state legislature.

On February 21, the members of the state legislative Assembly would be voting for one seat that was vacated by Shiv Sena MLA Kiran Pawaskar’s resignation early this month.

Pawaskar has joined the NCP and is likely to be the party’s candidate. On February 28, the elected representatives of the Nashik local self-government will vote for the seat that was vacated by NCP legislator Dr Vasant Pawar’s untimely death in October.

The NCP has decided to give the party candidature to Pawar’s wife. The notification for the two polls will be declared on February 4. While Congress party does not have a vacancy, its alliance partner, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), is unlikely to give up its two seats.

Chavan needs to be a member of either of the houses within six months from assuming the office, of which more than two months have already passed.

Though getting to the upper house comes across as the easiest way, no Congress member from either of the houses is willing to vacate the seat without a good bargain.

Meanwhile, independent MLA in Chavan’s Satara district, Jaykumar Gore (Maan-Khatao), has volunteered to step down for the Chavan.

However, the Congress remains unsure about rehabilitating him. Interestingly, NCP has a vacancy in the upper house owing to the death of MLC Gurunath Kulkarni. But, this is a governor-nominated seat for which the re-nomination process will start in due course of time. NCP would be claiming this seat too.

“If NCP doesn’t give up, we will have to create a vacancy by asking one of our members to quit,” said a senior Congress leader, requesting anonymity.

Mumbai Congress president Kripashankar Singh is reported to have asked the party to allow him to resign so that Chavan could contest from his Kalina assembly segment.

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