Prithviraj Deshmukh of BJP today withdrew his nomination as the sixth candidate of the party for the July 16 Legislative Council polls, paving the way for the unopposed election to 11 seats that are falling vacant. Today (July 9) was the last date of withdrawal of the nomination papers. A BJP leader today said the party had asked Deshmukh to withdraw his candidature to ensure that the elections become unopposed.
The BJP had brought in Deshmukh, a party leader from Sangli in western Maharashtra, after state Animal Husbandry Minister Mahadeo Jankar filed his nomination papers as a candidate of his Rashtriya Samaj Paksh (RSP), a constituent of the BJP-led state government. Apart from Jankar, the BJP had announced candidature of Vijay Girkar, Ram Patil Ratolikar, Ramesh Patil and Nilay Naik.
The elections to 11 seats became necessary as the sitting MLCs are retiring on July 27. Elections, if needed, will be held on July 16. The BJP had earlier nominated Jankar under its quota of five seats. Of the eleven seats, the BJP can win five seats and Shiv Sena two seats given their respective numerical strength in the 288-member Legislative Assembly. The Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) together have fielded three candidates.
The BJP has maximum 122 MLAs in the House, followed by the Shiv Sena (63), Congress (42), NCP (41), PWP (3), Bahujan Vikas Agadhi (3), Independents (7), CPM (1), RSP (1), AIMIM (2), Samajwadi Party (1), MNS (1), BBM (1), and a nominated member from Anglo-Indian community. The Legislative Council has 78 seats.
The Shiv Sena has fielded Anil Parab and Manisha Kayande. The Congress nominees are Sharad Ranpise and Wajahat Mirza. The NCP's lone candidate is Baba Jani Durani. The Peasant and Workers Party (PWP) candidate is sitting member in council Jayant Patil. The members of the state assembly exercise the voting to decide the fate of the council members. The monsoon session of the state legislature is currently underway in Nagpur, the second capital of Maharashtra.