A Mumbai court is likely to decide on June 10 on the bail request of two Maharashtra ruling party leaders, Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh, which has become crucial ahead of Rajya Sabha elections in which every vote counts.
Nawab Malik, a Maharashtra Minister, is in jail since his arrest in February by the central Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case. The state’s former home minister Anil Deshmukh is also in jail on money-laundering allegations. Both have approached a special court for one-day bail to cast their vote in the Rajya Sabha election on Friday. On the other hand, the BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis has been reaching out to independent MLAs, working the phones as he recovers from Covid.
Nawab Malik has told the court that he is an elected MLA and is duty-bound to represent the residents of his constituency in electing a representative to Rajya Sabha. Elections will be held for six Rajya Sabha seats in Maharashtra and for the first time in more than two decades, there is a contest with seven candidates.
The ruling Shiv Sena has fielded two candidates, Sanjay Raut and Sanjay Pawar. The opposition BJP has put up three candidates – Union minister Piyush Goyal, Anil Bonde and Dhananjay Mahadik. The Sena, NCP and Congress moved their MLAs to resorts to prevent “poaching”.
Ruling coalition allies Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress have nominated one candidate each, Praful Patel and Imran Pratapgarhi. Any candidate needs 42 votes to win a Rajya Sabha seat.
The Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi has the numbers to win three out of the six Rajya Sabha seats for which 288 MLAs will vote. The BJP, which had 106 members in the assembly, can win two on its own but has fielded a third, setting up a contest for the sixth seat, between the BJP’s Dhananjay Mahadik and the Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Pawar. Every vote is crucial for the ruling coalition, which is racing to get the Sena’s second candidate, Sanjay Pawar, elected.