6 Rajya Sabha candidates to get elected unopposed; NDA’s strength from Maha to increase by two seats | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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6 Rajya Sabha candidates to get elected unopposed; NDA’s strength from Maha to increase by two seats

By, Mumbai
Feb 16, 2024 07:58 AM IST

Six candidates, including five from the ruling alliance and one from the opposition, are expected to be elected unopposed to the upper house of parliament from Maharashtra. An official announcement will be made on February 20.

Five candidates from the ruling alliance and one from the opposition are likely to get elected unopposed to the upper house of parliament from Maharashtra. An official announcement will be made on February 20, the last day of withdrawal of nomination.

Mumbai, India - Feb. 15, 2024: BJP candidates Ajeet Gopchande (L) and Medha Kulkarni(R) leaves Vidhan Bhavan, after filing nomination for Rajya sabha at Nariman Point in Mumbai, India, on Thursday, February 15, 2024. (Photo by Anshuman Poyrekar/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)
Mumbai, India - Feb. 15, 2024: BJP candidates Ajeet Gopchande (L) and Medha Kulkarni(R) leaves Vidhan Bhavan, after filing nomination for Rajya sabha at Nariman Point in Mumbai, India, on Thursday, February 15, 2024. (Photo by Anshuman Poyrekar/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)

On Thursday, the last day of filing of nomination, Ashok Chavan, Medha Kulkarni and Dr Ajeet Gopchade (BJP), Milind Deora (Eknath Shinde faction of Shiv Sena), Praful Patel (Ajit Pawar-led faction of NCP), and Chandrakant Handore (Congress) filed their papers at Vidhan Bhavan along with an independent candidate, Vishwas Jagtap. However, Jagtap’s application is expected to be rejected since it has no support of 10 MLAs as seconders, which is mandatory for the nomination’s acceptance.

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“We received 13 nominations on Thursday. All the six candidates have filed two nominations each and one is by Jagtap, whom we have given a letter pointing to the lapses in his application. A decision on Jagtap’s application will be taken after the scrutiny on Friday,” said Jitendra Bhole, secretary, state legislature.

After the six members’ entry to the Rajya Sabha, the strength of the ruling NDA from Maharashtra will go up by 2 to 12. On the other hand, INDIA bloc’s strength will drop to 7. The BJP will have eight members in the upper house while the Shinde camp and the Ajit Pawar group will have one MP each. Shiv Sena (UBT), Congress and the Sharad Pawar faction of NCP will have two members each.

State BJP chief Chandrshekhar Bawankule said, “All six candidates are expected to be elected unopposed as the number of candidates is equal to the seats vacant. There was no point in an unwarranted tussle by fielding an extra candidate.”

Chavan quit Congress on Monday and joined the BJP the next day. “I am thankful to the BJP leadership in Delhi and Maharashtra and will work in the upper house of parliament in the interest of the state,” he said after filing his nomination.

Deora, who defected from Congress to join Shinde’s camp last month, expressed his gratitude to the chief minister and party workers for giving him the opportunity.

Ajit Pawar’s faction surprised many by fielding Praful Patel, a sitting Rajya Sabha member with more than four years remaining before his term ends.

Patel was fielded to avoid his disqualification due to a petition filed by the Sharad Pawar faction, after the party split in July last year, a leader from Ajit Pawar’s camp said. “He will resign from his incumbent seat in the Rajya Sabha after February 20. The faction will then field a new candidate in the bypolls expected to be held in April and May.”

The BJP struck a balance by picking leaders from three communities. Chavan is a Maratha while Kulkarni belongs to the Brahmin community, which is reportedly upset with the BJP for neglecting its representative from Kothrud in the 2019 assembly election and the bypoll for Kasba constituency last year. Gopchade is from the Lingayat community, which has a sizable presence in many districts, including Solapur, Kolhapur, Nanded and Akola.

The party had planned to field an extra candidate betting on the potential crossover of Congress MLAs but dropped it. “We also explored the possibility of diverting votes from the Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray factions. We realised that it would be of no use as the whip of other factions would not be applicable to them. An additional candidate would have led to horse-trading and defeat of Handore,” a senior BJP leader, who refused to be named, said.

Handore, a Dalit face of Congress, is the only candidate from the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi comprising two factions of Shiv Sena and the NCP. Hondore, a former mayor of Mumbai, state minister, and MLA from Chembur, had faced defeat in the legislative council election in June 2020 owing to cross-voting.

Chief minister Shinde, deputy chief ministers Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar, Congress’s state unit chief Nana Patole, and Congress’s legislative party leader Balasaheb Thorat were present when the nominations were filed.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Surendra P Gangan is Senior Assistant Editor with political bureau of Hindustan Times’ Mumbai Edition. He covers state politics and Maharashtra government’s administrative stories. Reports on the developments in finances, agriculture, social sectors among others.

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