Mumbai: Congress on Sunday said that its decision to field three candidates -- instead of four -- for Maharashtra Legislative Council elections was in accordance with its strength in the Legislative Assembly.
"Congress has 82 MLAs...Only three nominees could win," state unit general secretary Sanjay Dutt said today, refuting the speculation that there was an understanding between Congress and Shiv Sena.
Because of Congress`s decision to field three candidates, Sena could get elected an additional MLC. Among the outgoing MLCs (whose term is expiring) there is only one Sena member.
Eleven candidates, including three of Congress, are set get elected unopposed, as yesteday was the last day of filing nominations for as many seats. These MLCs are elected by MLAs.
Dutt said that though 16 independent MLAs also support Congress, they are not covered by Anti-Defection law (and hence could not be compelled to vote for particular party).
Congress was keen to prevent horse-trading and cross-voting, Dutt said, adding that Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan did not succumb to the pressure to field a fourth candidate.
Congress had nominated Dutt, state unit president Manikrao Thakre and Sharad Ranpise.