After getting its candidate Rahul Narwekar elected as Speaker of state legislative assembly, BJP has turned its focus on having its own chairperson in state legislative council, thus having a greater control in both state legislative assembly and council.
Highly placed sources in the party revealed that the party is working on a strategy to have a clear majority in the state legislative council to facilitate a hassle-free victory for its candidate as chairperson of state legislative council, also known as the Upper House.
The front-runner for the coveted post is Ram Shinde. A minister in the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP-Shiv Sena coalition government ( 2014-2019), Shinde belongs to dhangar community (OBC) in Maharashtra. In 2019 assembly elections, he contested from Karjat-Jamkhed constituency and lost to NCP.
After losing assembly polls, he was politically rehabilitated as the member of state legislative council ( MLC). His name was also among the three in reckoning for the state party president. But BJP chose Chandrashekhar Bawankule (OBC) from Vidarbha region for the post.
The total strength of the state legislative council is 78. At present, BJP has 24, Shiv Sena 11, NCP 10, and the Congress 10. The Rashtriya Samaj Party, and the Peasant and Workers Party of India one each, and Independents, five. There are 16 vacancies, which include 12 Governor nominees.
A highly placed source in BJP said, “As a strategy, the BJP will ensure that appointments of 12 Governor nominees are cleared. Once it gets that list cleared, the BJP automatically gets an edge in the number game in the state legislative council.” The BJP’s tally will rise from 24 to 36. With RSP and one Independent supporter, its strength will be up to 38.
Even if the Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena come together, their combined tally is 31. With the support of PWPI and four Independents, they can reach 36, which is still two less than the BJP’s 38. Although the 12 Governor nominees have to conform to a prescribed criteria, they are vested with all rights given to members of the legislative council. They will be allowed to exercise voting rights for chairperson election in the legislative council.