The Maharashtra State Election Commission has notified the byelection for the Legislative Council seat that had fallen vacant after former chief minister Narayan Rane quit the Congress, which had nominated him to the seat. The by-election will be held on December 7.
While various parties are yet to decide on the candidates, indications are that Rane himself is a frontrunner for the seat, as he would need to become a member of either house to become a minister. The BJP has shown readiness to accommodate Rane in the BJP-led cabinet.
Rane had resigned from the Congress in September, after a 12-year stint in the party he had joined after quitting the Sena. Rane has floated a new political outfit, the Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksh, which he claimed would support the BJP government.
There has been speculation about his induction into the cabinet after he quit the Congress that he might be given a berth before the next Assembly session, scheduled to begin in Nagpur on December 11. However, there are signs that the Cabinet rejig may be postponed till the Gujarat elections are over.
The BJP is also facing resistance from coalition partner Shiv Sena, which has often expressed its displeasure to the plan to bring Rane — a known Sena baiter — on board. The BJP has, however, claimed that they would offer Rane a seat from the party’s own quota and therefore other parties have no reason to complain. The BJP has 122 MLAs in the 288-member Assembly. Ally Shiv Sena has 63 members in the lower house. If the Sena decides to create hurdles, it will have to team up with the Opposition. The candidates will have to file their nominations before November 27. The by-poll will be held on December 7 and the results will be announced the same day.