MLC polls: Maha set for another cliff-hanger contest between MVA, BJP

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With just 48 hours to go before a thriller contest for the Maharashtra Legislative Council biennial elections, the main contest will be between Congress’ Mumbai President Bhai Jagtap and BJP’s Prasad Lad for the 10th seat.

A total of 11 candidates are vying for the 10 MLC seats vide the electoral college comprising 288 MLAs, though effectively 285 shall vote in the elections on Monday (June 20).

Jagtap, 66, is a trade unionist heading the Bharatiya Kamgar Karmachari Mahasangh (BKKM) and President of Mumbai Congress, while Lad, 51, is a former MLC and ex-chairman of Mumbai Buildings Repair and Reconstruction Board.

Both considered good pals on a personal level, Lad is considered a confidante of Leader of the Opposition Devendra Fadnavis and has been a trouble-shooter for the BJP on various occasions.

Of the 288-member lower house, one Shiv Sena MLA Ramesh Latke died recently, while two NCP MLAs Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik – currently in jail – were denied permission by Bombay High Court to vote for the MLC polls.

The quota for winning – depending on the actual votes cast – would be 26 or 27 per candidate, and the 29 MLAs of smaller parties or independents will play a crucial role in the elections.

The MVA has fielded Sachin Ahit and Amasha Padvi (Shiv Sena), Ramraje Naik-Nimbalkar and Eknath Khadse (Nationalist Congress Party), Chandrakant Handore and Bhai Jagtap (Congress).

The BJP has nominated Pravin Darekar, Prof Ram Shinde, Shrikant Bhartiya, Uma Khapre and Prasad Lad.

With a strength of 106, the BJP can comfortably bag four of the five seats it is contesting and the battle will be for Lad’s candidature vis-a-vis Jagtap.

The Sena with 55 legislators and NCP with 51 MLAs can easily win their two seats respectively, while the Congress with 44 legislators would require around a dozen votes from the independents, smaller parties or its allies.

Both MVA and BJP are desperately wooing the independents and smaller parties though the Samajwadi Party, All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen and Bahujan Vikas Aghadi have yet to indicate which side they will vote for.

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