Maharashtra Legislative Council polls: 285 MLAs vote, counting to start at 5pm

Members of Maharashtra state assembly voted in the Legislative Assembly elections at Vidan Bhawan in Mumbai on Monday. Polling ends at 4 pm and counting will begin at 5 pm.

And the elections for ten seats in the Council include eleven candidates in the battle. The BJP has five candidates which are Praveen Darkar, Ram Shinde, Shrikant Bharatiya, Uma Khaber and Prasad Lad. The two congressional candidates are Bhai Jagtap and Chandrakant Handur. While the ANC has dispatched Ramraj Nimbalkar and Iknath Khadsi, the Shiv Sena candidates are Amchia Badavi and Sachin Ahir.

To elect a candidate requires 26 votes. While the total strength of the Council is 288 members, 285 of them cast their votes. One of the members, Shiv Sena, Ramesh Lataki, passed away last month and two NCP members, former ministers Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik, were not allowed to vote. They are under judicial custody in money laundering cases.

The BJP has 106 MLAs, Shiv Sena 55 and NCP 51. While Congress has 44 MLAs, smaller and independent parties together have 29 MLAs.

The biggest challenge remains for the BJP, which requires 24 additional votes to elect its five candidates. Congress needs eight additional votes to send both candidates to the chamber.

Cena has the full quota of 52 votes to ensure that each of her candidates wins. She has three surplus votes. The National Congress Party (NCP) less than one vote to take its tally to 52 votes and elect both candidates.

However, since the MLC is elected by secret ballot, the manner in which the smaller parties and independents voted will have to be known. Another interesting feature is whether there is any reciprocal voting by members who have crossed their party whips.

Since the morning each side has been keeping a close eye on its members. While opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP has taken a major gamble by fielding a fifth candidate, which necessitated a contest, the party made sure all MLAs cast their votes. Two ailing BJP MLA members – Laxman Jagtap, representing Pimpri Chinchwad, and Mukta Tilak, representing Caspabeth’s seat in Pune – were brought in by ambulance.

Bahujan Vikad Aghadi, whose three votes were the most sought after of all the candidates, had to summon one member, Kshitij Thakur, who was abroad.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Ajit Pawar, started work in the past 48 hours, making the elections an issue of prestige for the Maha Vikas Agade government. Not only did he work to see all is well for his party members, he also took initiatives for NCP allies. Congressional leaders asked for help from Sina and the NCP in collecting the numbers needed. However, the results will show who succeeded in getting his support

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