Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and eight other candidates belonging to the ruling and opposition parties were declared elected unopposed to the state Legislative Council on Thursday (May 14).
The biennial elections for the nine seats of the Council, which fell vacant on April 24, were scheduled to be held next Thursday (May 21).
The election process was initiated on May 4 to fill in vacancies for nine seats, which fell vacant after the completion of the term of nine members. The election process was initially postponed in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, state Governor B S Koshyari had recently written to the Election Commission of India (ECI), requesting it to hold the polls to enable Thackeray to complete the constitutional provision of getting elected to the legislature within six months of becoming chief minister.
As many as 14 candidates had filed their nomination papers for the nine seats. Of them, the nomination of one candidate was rejected during the scrutiny of papers, while BJP’s Ajit Gopchade and Sandeep Lele, NCP’s Kiran Pawaskar and Shivajirao Garje withdrew from the race on May 12.
The nine candidates left in the fraywere Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray and Neelam Gorhe, NCP’s Shashikant Shinde, Amol Mitkari, Congresss Rajesh Rathod, and four candidates of the opposition BJP — Ranjitsinh Mohite Patil, Gopichand Padalkar, Ajit Datke, and Ramesh Karad.
“They were declared elected unopposed on Thursday after the deadline for withdrawal of papers ended at 3 pm,” an official said.
The state cabinet had initially recommended that Thackeray be nominated by the governor to the Council from his quota. Despite sending two recommendations, the governor did not nominate Thackeray to the Upper House of the legislature and was criticised by the ruling Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) constituents.
Thackeray had even spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to seek his intervention in the matter.
Thackeray was sworn in as chief minister on November 28, 2019. As per the rule, the CM has to get elected as legislator within six months.