As the fight over the coveted sixth Rajya Sabha seat heats up in Maharashtra, rivals BJP and Shiv Sena are trying to win over independent MLAs and smaller parties who will play a crucial role in the result.
While the state government is promising swift disbursal of MLA funds and support in developmental works in their constituencies, the BJP has offered the Central government’s support in infrastructure development, and also to keep central investigation agencies away.
Voting for Rajya Sabha elections will be held in Maharashtra on June 10 after a gap of 22 years as candidates have usually been elected unopposed.
As a total of 7 candidates filled in their nominations for the six available seats, votes will decide the sixth candidate.
A candidate needs the support of 42 MLAs to win the Rajya Sabha elections. BJP has a total of 105 MLAs, Shiv Sena has 55, NCP has 54 and Congress has 42 MLAs.
Apart from this, small parties and independents have a total of 29 MLAs.
After winning its two candidates, the BJP is left with a total of 29 votes for the third candidate after support from smaller parties.
The Shiv Sena has the support of the remaining 27 MLAs of Congress and the NCP combined.
About three to four independent MLAs had supported the government formed by Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar in 2019 but it fell in three days. Sources say these MLAs have since then been ignored by the Chief Minister and their funds have also been disbursed late.
Therefore, through this election, some MLAs want to clear the old grievances by voting in favour of the government.
However, some MLAs are also in danger of getting notices from central investigating agencies and can vote in support of the BJP to avoid that.
The leaders of the ruling coalition Maha Vikas Aghadi had spoken to former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and appealed for an unopposed election by withdrawing one of their candidates, but BJP did not agree to this.
Both the parties are claiming that independents or smaller parties will support them for the third seat.
Among the small parties and independent MLAs that both Shiv Sena and BJP need now.
Bahujan Vikas Aghadi has three MLAs, Samajwadi Party and Prahar Janshakti Party have two each, and CPI(M), Shetkari Kamgar Paksha, Swabhimani Paksha, Krantikari Shetkari Party, Jansurajya Shakti, and Rashtriya Samaj Paksha have 1 MLA each.
Apart from this, there are 13 independent MLAs as well.
For BJP and the Shiv Sena, this fight is not only for one seat in the Rajya Sabha. Both the parties want to project strength before the upcoming municipal elections, and therefore, along with getting the independent MLAs on their side, many preparations are being made to prevent their MLAs from voting for the other party.