Congress leader Nana Patole is fuming because NCP chief Sharad Pawar extended his support to Sambhaji Raje Chhatrapati, an independent candidate and former BJP leader. Here Shiv Sena has decided to renominate the sitting MP and chief spokesman Sanjay Raut while it proposes to contest another seat banking on its own surplus votes and transfer of excess votes by ruling partners NCP and Congress. Congress, NCP and Sena could win one seat each. The question is who will win the fourth seat. There are six Rajya Sabha seats in Maharashtra.
The terms of BJP’s Piyush Goyal, Vikas Mahatme and Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, NCP’s Praful Patel, Congress’ P Chidambaram and Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut will end on July 7. While the notification will be issued on May 24, polling will be held on June 10, and results will be declared the same day. Based on the strength of parties in the state legislature, BJP is sure to win two seats, while Congress, NCP and Sena together may win four seats, a gain of one seat. The BJP is set to retain Piyush Goyal, while for the second seat, there are many contenders, including BJP general secretary Vinod Tawde and women’s front head Vijaya Rajatkar. It is also likely that BJP may retain Vinay Sahasrabuddhe.
So far, there was consensus on a leading social worker, but his name has been dropped. Now a Pune based builder is a contender. The fourth candidate will have to secure the support of independents and will be decided by NCP. Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut suspects horse-trading by BJP for the sixth seat. However, Sanjay Raut has also expressed confidence that no matter how many efforts are made by the opposition, Shiv Sena will win. Neither the BJP nor the Mahavikas Aghadi has enough strength to field a candidate for the sixth Rajya Sabha seat. Sambhaji Raje Chhatrapati had announced that he would fight for this seat as an independent.
However, Shiv Sena has started preparations to field its own candidate for the sixth seat. It is learned that if Sambhaji Raje Chhatrapati wants support for the sixth Rajya Sabha seat, he should join Shiv Sena. Therefore, the current situation in political circles is very tricky. Looking at Sanjay Raut’s confidence, Sambhaji Raje is in dilemma. Sambhaji Raje Chhatrapati wrote an open letter to the MLAs of the state. In this letter, he has appealed to all political parties and independent MLAs to give me a chance as an independent for the sixth seat in the Rajya Sabha. “Looking at my career and honest work ethic, I would like to express my sincere hope that all of you will definitely support me for this sixth seat in the Rajya Sabha,” Sambhaji Raje stated in the letter.
Sharad Pawar may extend support to Sambhaji Raje to avoid backlash for the Maratha community but still, Maha Vikas Aghadi has not forgotten the agitation by Sambhaji against the government. Sabhaji might be independent like Navneet Rana but all these independent MLAs are working for BJP against the ruling alliance.
As per the present party-wise strength, the Maha Vikas Aghadi has the support of 168 of the 288 legislators comprising Shiv Sena 55, NCP 53, Congress 44, other parties 8 and independents 8. Based on their individual strengths, Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress are confident of victory of one seat each with a quota of 42 required for the election of one seat. Maha Vikas Aghadi government together expects to win four of the six seats from Maharashtra and BJP might win two seats.
In the case of the BJP with 106 legislators, it has the support of one legislator each of Jan Surajya and Rashtriya Samaj Paksha and five independents. Together, BJP has a strength of 113 legislators. With this BJP is confident of the victory of two nominees. If BJP decides to field one more seat, then the MVA faces an acid test to keep its flock together as observers hint at horse-trading.
Rajya Sabha elections will be held in June, which includes six seats in Maharashtra. The Shiv Sena has already claimed the sixth position in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in the state which has the required strength for the sixth position. Sources said that considering the current strength of MLAs in the Maharashtra Assembly, the BJP is likely to contest for the third seat in the Rajya Sabha. BJP is discussing the names of Piyush Goyal, Vinod Tawde, Harshvardhan Patil and Dhananjay Mahadik for this third Rajya Sabha seat. There is a quota of 42 votes to win the Rajya Sabha seat. BJP is 13 votes short of third place. The BJP has started forming a front for the votes required for the third seat.
The BJP currently has 113 MLAs. BJP has 106 MLAs, RSP 1, Jansurajya 1 and five independents with a total of 113 MLAs. One Rajya Sabha seat requires 42 votes. The BJP needs only 13 votes. Maha Vikas Aghadi has 169 MLAs and BJP has 113 MLAs. Depending on the strength of the party, two candidates from BJP, one from Shiv Sena Congress and one from NCP can easily get elected to Rajya Sabha.