April 4, 2020 1:26:53 am
The nationwide lockdown seems to have caused an obstacle in Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s attempt to get elected to the state legislature by May. As per Article 164 (4) of the Constitution, any minister who is not a member of the House needs to get elected to the Legislative Assembly within six months of appointment.
Uddhav, who was sworn in on November 28, 2019, has time till May 27 to get elected to the legislature, failing which, he will have to step down as the CM.
The office of the chief electoral officer, which oversees Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in state as per directions of the Election Commission (EC), said the nine Legislative Council seats will fall vacant on April 24. “Polls have not been announced yet due to the lockdown. One month is required to complete the election process whenever the polls are announced,” said an official.
However, Shiv Sena leaders said they are confident that Uddhav would get elected to the Council in time. “If some lockdown restrictions are removed on April 15, we may write to the EC, requesting that polls be conducted,” said a Sena minister.
The minister added that if the polls are announced, the election process can be completed in time. “If it doesn’t happen, then it will be a constitutional issue.”
Another Sena minister said Rajya Sabha elections and polls to two civic bodies were deferred last month due to the prevailing situation. “If the EC defers the polls for the Legislative Council, then it will also provide some relief in the matter, as this situation is arising due to an unforeseen crisis,” the minister added.
The minister said that EC holds discussions with political parties to know if they want to defer polls. “We will discuss the issue,” the minister added.
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