The rejection means that their party’s two candidates need more votes from the independents and smaller parties. The duo’s plea for voting in the Rajya Sabha polls was also rejected by the lower courts last week
As of now, Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh can’t vote in the June 20 Council polls
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will be short of two votes in the Legislative Council (MLC) elections on June 20 because the Bombay High Court has refused to release its two MLAs, Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik, from judicial custody for polling. The rejection means that their party’s two candidates need more votes from the independents and smaller parties. The duo’s plea for voting in the Rajya Sabha polls was also rejected by the lower courts last week.
In the Rajya Sabha elections, the NCP had fielded Praful Patel, who won comfortably by getting more first preference votes (43) than the quota needed. NCP had 51 MLAs then without Malik and Deshmukh. The extra votes were transferred to the MVA allies. NCP will again have a similar number, but the arithmetic in the MLC polls is different because each candidate needs 26 votes to win. The party will have to have more votes than its official members polling.
To safeguard its candidates, the NCP will also need to ensure that the votes they poll exceed the quota required to win. The upper house chairman Ramraje Nimbalkar and former Bharatiya Janata Party leader Eknath Khadse are the NCP nominees. Considering the animosity between Khadse and the BJP, the sceptical political circles haven’t predicted an easy win for the former minister in a secret ballot for all voters.
In addition to the NCP’s two, the BJP has fielded five candidates, the Congress and the Shiv Sena two each. There are 10 vacancies available and 11 contestants vying. Following the RS debacle, the Sena (55 MLAs) has decided to not part with any of its party and associate’s first preference vote. The Congress (44), with two candidates in the fray, faces an acute scarcity but is hopeful of sailing through.
In the Rajya Sabha polls, the BJP was supplemented by independents and smaller parties, who are in demand yet again. With 106 MLAs of its own, the BJP had managed 17 extra first preferences out of 29 independents and small party votes on June 10. The BJP can get four MLCs easily, but its fifth must gather extra. In the RS polls, the NCP’s independent supporters were accused of cross-voting for the BJP. Three of them were named by the Sena. However, it would be interesting to see whether they contribute to the NCP victory in the MLC polls.
When asked, deputy chief minister and NCP veteran, Ajit Pawar, told the media persons on Thursday that the BJP was appreciated for its skills because it won the extra RS seat. “Let’s see who proves more skilful in this election,” he said, accepting the challenge. The three accused in the RS polls swear by their loyalty to Ajit Pawar. On June 20, not just independents but also the MLAs from all parties—small and big—will be under watch for obvious reasons.