Maharashtra’s ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), an alliance of the Shiv Sena, NCP, and Congress, has won four of the six Maharashtra Legislative Council seats for which voting took place on December 1.
Elections were held for three graduate seats of Nagpur, Pune, and Aurangabad; two teachers’ seats of Pune and Amravati; and one local body seat from Dhule-Nandurbar.
This was the first state-level election after the MVA formed the government, keeping the BJP, the single largest party in the Legislative Assembly, out of power. The MVA’s victories are important also because each of these Council seats represents electors in a large geographical area of the state.
Seats and electors
The Upper House of Maharashtra legislature has 78 members, 66 of whom are elected, and the rest nominated. Members are elected for a six-year term.
Of the 66 elected members in the Council, 30 are elected by members of the Legislative Assembly; 22 are elected by local bodies from 21 divisions; and seven members each are elected from among graduates and teachers of the seven revenue divisions of the state – Mumbai, Amravati, Nashik, Aurangabad, Konkan, Nagpur, and Pune.
Only those who have a Bachelor’s degree from a recognised university are eligible to participate in the elections for the graduate seats.
Voters are enrolled afresh before each election, and applicants have to submit proof of education with a Bachelor’s degree for enrolment as an elector.
The elected member is expected to raise the issues of the educated class in the Upper House.
Of the seven graduate constituencies in the Council, the BJP, NCP, and Congress now have two members each, and the Shiv Sena has one.
For teachers constituencies, professional teachers, employed either in the government or the private sector, are eligible to register themselves as voters. The teacher electors choose one among themselves to raise their issues in the Legislative Council.
The Sena, NCP, Congress, BJP, Lok Bharati (LB), Peasants and Workers’ Party (PWP) of India and an Independent candidate now have a seat each in the teachers constituencies in the Council.
For MVA, vindication
This was the first election in which the Sena, NCP, and Congress forged a pre-poll alliance with the aim of consolidating their strength in the state. The three parties see the victories as an indication of the acceptance of their alliance by the people. Senior NCP leaders have said the alliance succeeded in cutting the BJP to size.
After Friday’s showing, the MVA would want to have a pre-poll alliance for all elections in the state. Maharashtra is scheduled to have local body polls early next year. “I will have discussions with the leaders of the three alliance partners in order to implement the same pre-poll strategy for all forthcoming polls,” Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said.
For BJP, a major setback
The results of the Council elections are a blow to the BJP. The failure to retain its bastion of Nagpur and the Pune graduate constituency will hurt the party the most, while raising the hopes of its rivals.
The Nagpur seat has in the past been represented by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, and Gangadhar Fadnavis, father of former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. On Friday, Fadnavis conceded that the results of the elections were not up to the BJP’s expectations, and that the party had failed to correctly gauge the combined strength of the three ruling parties. 📣 Follow Express Explained on Telegram
The winners and losers
The Congress, which has been in decline in the Nagpur region, has won the Nagpur seat after decades. Abhijit Wanjarri of the Congress defeated Sandip Joshi of the BJP, a close confidant of Fadnavis’s.
The Pune seat had been represented twice earlier by state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil. On Friday, the NCP’s Arun Lad defeated Sangram Deshmukh of the BJP by a huge margin.
Satish Chavan of the NCP retained the Aurangabad seat, comfortably defeating the BJP candidate, Shirish Boralkar.
Former Congress MLC Ambrish Patel, who fought the election on BJP ticket, won the Dhule-Nandurbar seat, while Independent candidate Kiran Sarnaik won the Amravati division teachers seat.