Two leaders each from the ruling NCP and Shiv Sena and all five candidates of the opposition BJP were elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Council on Monday night. NCP leaders Eknath Khadse and Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar, Sena candidates Amshya Padvi and Sachin Ahir were named as winners, along with BJP nominees Ram Shinde, Uma Khapre, Shrikant Bhartiya, Prasad Lad and Pravin Darekar. These nine winners secured the minimum quota of 26 votes each to make it to the Upper House of the state legislature.
Chairman of Legislative Council and NCP candidate Ramraje Nimbalkar, Leader of Opposition in the Upper House Pravin Darekar of the BJP and former BJP minister and now NCP nominee Eknath Khadse managed to bag the required number of first preference votes to secure a win.
Sena nominees Sachin Ahir and Aamshya Padavi also posted victories. “We dedicate today’s victory to Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. I thank all the MLAs who have voted for us,” said Sena candidate Sachin Ahir.
Two Congress nominees, which are part of the ruling MVA, however, failed to secure the minimum quota of the first preference vote.
The final vote tally, however, will be announced when all the rounds of counting are over.
The opposition BJP had fielded five nominees – Darekar, Ram Shinde, Uma Khapre, Shrikant Bharatiya and Prasad Lad – and all of them bagged the minimum quota of votes required to win the poll.
Atul Bhatkhalkar, an MLA of the BJP said, “Darekar secured 29 votes of first preference, while Ram Shinde and Bharatiya secured 30 votes of first preference each. It means, our excess votes of the top three candidates on the list will be transferred to our fifth candidate Prasad Lad.”
“If you count all the votes of first preference to the BJP candidates, we have won 133 votes. It means, we have won more votes than we secured in the Rajya Sabha elections (held on June 10),” he said.
The BJP has 106 MLAs in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, while the remaining votes for its candidates have either come from independent MLAs or those from small parties or from other parties.
Voting for the elections to 10 vacant MLC seats was held between 9 am and 4 pm at the Legislature Complex in south Mumbai. In all, 11 candidates – five of the BJP and two each of the Sena, the NCP and the Congress were in the fray.
The counting of votes began after a two-hour delay at around 7 pm.
Earlier, the returning officer invalidated two votes – one each of the ruling ally NCP and the opposition BJP – after objections were raised by leaders of the respective parties, an official said. The objections and invalidation of votes led to the suspension of the counting process by almost half an hour, he said.
The counting, originally scheduled to start at 5 pm, was delayed by over two hours after Congress raised an objection to the votes cast by BJP MLAs Mukta Tilak and Laxman Jagtap. The ailing opposition legislators had cast their votes with the help of assistants, which was objected to by the Congress, a key constituent of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA).
However, the Election Commission of India (ECI) rejected Congress’s objection and gave a go-ahead to count of votes.
(With PTI inputs)
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