HomePoliticsRajya Sabha polls: Most Maha MLAs cast their votes by 2

Rajya Sabha polls: Most Maha MLAs cast their votes by 2


A total of 278 Maharashtra MLAs cast their votes till around 1.30 on Friday in the election for six Rajya Sabha seats in the state, where a close contest is being played out between the ruling Shiv Sena and the opposition BJP for the sixth seat, officials said.

Voting is underway at the Vidhan Bhavan, the state legislature complex here. The polling process, which began at 9 am, will go on till 4 pm and the results will be declared in the evening.

The BJP took exception to the votes cast by three legislators – one each from Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress – the parties that share power in the state as part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), claiming that these three members showed their ballots to the authorised agents in such a way that it violated the rules.

However, Energy Minister Nitin Raut said the returning officer rejected the BJP’s objection.

The day also saw the Bombay High Court rejecting Maharashtra minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik’s petition seeking release from jail to cast his vote in the Rajya Sabha polls. Malik had sought that he be either released from custody on a bond or be permitted to go with a police escort to the Vidhan Bhavan for voting. However, the high court said it did not wish to set a wrong precedent by entertaining Malik’s plea.

Former home minister Anil Deshmukh had also filed a similar plea the high court, but it is yet to be heard.

Malik and Deshmukh are currently lodged in jail in connection with different money laundering cases being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

The 288-member Legislative Assembly is the electoral college for the biennial elections. But the total votes have come down to 285 since there is a vacancy due to the death of Shiv Sena MLA Ramesh Latke and a special court on Thursday rejecting the pleas filed by Malik and Deshmukh seeking a day’s bail to vote in the elections.

A statement from the state Information Department said that out of the 285 MLAs, 278 cast their votes till 1.24 pm.

Senior Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai said all votes polled so far are valid after scrutiny.

There are a total of seven candidates in the fray for six seats. While the BJP has fielded Union minister Piyush Goyal, former state minister Anil Bonde and former MP Dhananjay Mahadik, the Shiv Sena has given opportunity to MP Sanjay Raut and Sanjay Pawar. From the NCP, Praful Patel is in the election ring, while the Congress has fielded Imran Pratapgarhi.

The contest is primarily for the sixth seat – between BJP’s Mahadik and Sena’s Pawar. This is after more than two decades that Maharashtra is witnessing a contest in the Rajya Sabha polls.

“About 10 to 12 objections that were raised, have been ruled out by the election authorities,” Desai said.

Parag Alavani, BJP’s polling agent, said his party took objection to three votes cast by Suhash Kande (Shiv Sena), Yashomati Thakur (Congress) and Jitendra Awhad (NCP).

Alavani said as per rules voter has to show ballot to their authorised agent from a safe distance.

But two of them gave their ballot paper to their agents, while Kande showed it in a such a way that two agents of different parties could see it, he added.

“We have asked the returning officer to go through the video-recording and see check that rules have been violated. We will seek a hearing from the central election authority if no action action is taken here,” Alavani said.

Yashomati Thakur accused the opposition party of vitiating the atmosphere “even in the polling booth”.

Minister of State Dattatraya Bharne, who belongs to the NCP, was the first to cast his vote.

Shiv Sena MLA Mahendra Dalvi, who is ailing, came to the venue using a walker to cast his vote, while BJP’s Laxman Jagtap, who is also indisposed, came in an ambulance from Pune to exercise his franchise.

Bhujbal, a senior NCP leader, expressed confidence that all four candidates of the MVA will win. Congress leader and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat also said that the MVA candidates will sail through comfortably in the first round.

State Congress chief Nana Patole said countdown has begun for the BJP to face a defeat.

Health Minister Rajesh Tope, an NCP leader, said there were no differences among the MVA allies.

In the morning, the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) announced that it would vote in favour of the Congress candidate. The announcement was made by AIMIM Lok Sabha member from Aurangabad Imtiaz Jaleel hours before the polling began.

Describing AIMIM as the “B team” of the ruling alliance, BJP legislator Atul Bhatkalkar said that was the reason why its two legislators were supporting the MVA candidates.



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