The Election Commission of India will hold elections for the nine vacant seats in the Maharashtra Legislative Council, the upper house of the state assembly, on May 21, poll officials said on Friday.
Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray needs to be elected from one of the nine seats by May 28 to retain his post at the helm of the state. The 288-members of the Maharashtra assembly will vote to elect the members to the upper house.
“Elections for the post of nine MLCs have been cleared,” a senior poll official said while speaking to HT.
“The commission has decided to hold the election on May 21. Normally, the counting is done on the same day. The results will also be declared then,” a second official added.
The first official cited above said several political parties, including the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress had written to the Commission requesting them to hold the elections.
“The chief secretary has assured us that the situation is better and under control. MHA and health ministry guidelines will be followed and all necessary precautions will be taken to ensure the conduct of the polls,” the first official said.
“Since the election is to the upper house and 288 members will be voting, the management will be easier,” the official added.
Sanjay Raut, senior Shiv Sena leader, tweeted to thank the poll panel for its decision to hold the elections.
“The Election Commission of India (ECI) has allowed elections to the Legislative Council (MLC) in Maharashtra. I hope… the uncertainty that was created it will end now. I am grateful to the central government and the Election Commission of the country. Satyameva Jayate!” Raut tweeted in Hindi.
Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had asked the commission on Thursday to hold the polls “at earliest”. In a letter issued by Raj Bhavan, the governor said the elections to the vacant will help end the “uncertainty” prevailing in the state.
The seats have been lying vacant since April 24.
Koshyari had urged the commission to take note of the fact that the Centre had allowed for various relaxations in the second phase of the lockdown.
“As such the elections to the Council seats can be held with certain guidelines,” Koshyari said in his letter.
The commission had earlier decided to defer the elections on April 3 in light of the “public health emergency” due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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