The ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in Maharashtra on Friday welcomed the Election Commission of India's (ECI) decision to hold biennial elections for nine vacant seats of the state Legislative Council on May 21.
The decision paved the way for Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to enter the state legislature within six months of his swearing-in on November 28, 2019.
State Congress chief and revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat said the three MVA partners can win two seats each.
In a tweet, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut thanked the central government and the ECI for allowing the elections, which were earlier postponed to due to coronavirus outbreak, to be beld.
The announcement ended the atmosphere of uncertainty, he said.
State Congress chief Thorat and his NCP counterpart Jayant Patil, both ministers in the Thackeray-led government, also welcomed the announcement, saying it will put to rest the "speculation of uncertainty created by the
Nine Legislative Council seats fell vacant on April 24. The BJP and NCP held three of these seats each, the Congress two and Shiv Sena one.
The 288-member Legislative Assembly forms the electoral college for the polls. A candidate will need at least 29 votes to win.
Governor BS Koshyari had written to the ECI on Thursday, requesting it to hold the elections at the earliest.
After the elections were postponed in view of the corona pandemic,the state cabinet had twice recommended to the governor to nominate Thackeray to be Council on one of the two seats from Governor's quota which were vacant.
But the governor did not take any decision. Earlier this week Thackeray spoke to prime minister Narendra Modi over the issue, Sena sources had said.
On Thursday, Thackeray wrote to the governor, asking him to request the poll panel to hold the biennial elections.
Legislature wings of the three allies- Sena, Congress and NCP also sent similar letters to the ECI.
Thackeray, who is not a member of either house of Maharashtra legislature, will have to get elected before May 27.
Thorat expressed confidence that the MVA will win six of the nine seats, two each for three members of the alliance.
"During the Rajya Sabha elections, I spoke to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on the Congress' demand of two seats in the Council. There should not be any problem," he said.
The BJP, which has 105 MLAs, said it will contest four seats.
If the MVA contests six seats, it will need 174 votes. The government had bagged 169 out of 288 votes during the trust vote last year.
"We have the numbers," Thorat claimed.
Party position in Assembly is as follows: BJP 105, Shiv Sena 56, NCP 54, Congress 44, Bahujan Vikas aghadi 3, Samajwadi party 2, AIMIM 2, Prahar Janshakti Party 2, MNS 1, CPM 1, PWP 1, Swabhimani Paksh 1, Rashtriya Samaj Paksh 1, Jansurajya Shakti 1, Krantikari Shetkari Paksh 1 and 13 Independents.