Mumbai: Voting for six seats of the Maharashtra Legislative Council biennial elections from local bodies constituencies are being held today, for which major parties in the state are in a seat-sharing agreement. The election is being held as three members of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), two of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and one of the Congress, are retiring from the Upper House of Maharashtra legislature on June 21.
The contest for Osmanabad-Beed-Latur seat is watched keenly as it is viewed as a battle of prestige between Women and Child Welfare Minister Pankaja Munde (BJP) and her cousin Dhananjay Munde (NCP), the Leader of Opposition in the legislative council. Other seats going to polls are: Raigad-Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg, Nasik, Prabhani-Hingoli, Amaravati, and Wardha-Chandrapur-Gadchiroli.
The counting of votes will be done on May 24. The ruling BJP and the Shiv Sena, the warring constituent in the Maharashtra government, are contesting three seats each. The Sena is contesting Raigad-Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg, Nasik and Parbhani-Hingoli seats.
The NCP is taking on the Sena in Raigad-Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg and Nasik. The battle for Osmanabad-Latur-Beed seat became interesting after Ramesh Karad of NCP had withdrawn his nomination at the last minute. Karad, a staunch supporter of BJP minister Pankaja Munde, had joined the NCP and was immediately declared the party candidate.
After Karad's withdrawal, the NCP extended its support to independent candidate Ashok Jagdale. BJP has fielded former NCP minister Suresh Dhas for this bypoll. In the Parbhani-Hingoli local authorities constituency BJP rebel Suresh Nangare is in fray, along with Shiv Sena's Viplav Bajoria and Congress' Suresh Deshmukh.
BJP's Rajya Sabha member and former chief minister Narayan Rane has declared his support to NCP candidate Aniket Tatkare in the Raigad-Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg local authorities constituency, against Sena's Rajeev Sabale. Pravin Pote, Minister of State for Industries, is contesting from Amaravati constituency against Anil Madhogaria of the Congress.
The electoral college comprises representatives, including corporators and councillors, of these six civic bodies. As per party-wise representation in these civic bodies, the BJP is expected to win Amaravati and Wardha-Chandrapur-Gadchiroli seats, while the Congress looks comfortable in Parbhani-Hingoli.