Maha CM will not have unopposed by-election

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan set to enter the Legislative Council through a by-election will have to face a contest as the opposition Shiv Sena-BJP alliance have decided to field a candidate against him.

Updated: Apr 14, 2011, 15:33 PM IST

Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj
Chavan set to enter the Legislative Council through a
by-election will have to face a contest as the opposition Shiv
Sena-BJP alliance have decided to field a candidate against
him.

Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) was keen to
have an unopposed election but the opposition Shiv Sena and
BJP are not in the mood to oblige.

BJP General Secretary Vinod Tawde Thursday said the saffron
alliance would field a candidate against Chavan.

Chavan, earlier a Union Minister, was sent to Maharashtra
to replace Ashok Chavan, in the wake of Adarsh Society scam.
He is not a member of either House of state Legislature.

"Chavan`s election is a foregone conclusion given the fact
that the Congress and its allies enjoy majority in the
289-member Legislative Assembly which is the electoral college
for the by-election," MPCC General Secretary Sanjay Dutt
said.

"But unopposed election of the Chief Minister will send
a positive message to the people," Dutt said.

He denied that Congress feared cross-voting, as the
Council election is through secret ballot. "It is the
opposition which is splintered," Dutt said.

He said Congress was ready for a contest if the opposition
fielded a candidate. Congress had 82 MLAs and NCP 62, which
alone made up the required numbers, he said.

There are 24 independent MLAs, of which 21 support the
ruling alliance.

BJP has BJP 46 MLAs, Shiv Sena 45, PWP 4, Samajwadi Party
3, Jan Surajya Shakti Party 2, Bahujan Vikas Aghadi 2; Bharipa
Bahujan Mahasangh, CPI(M), Lok Sangram, Rashtriya Samaj Party,
Swabhimani Party have one MLA each. One member is nominated by
the Governor. Raj Thackeray-led MNS has 13 MLAs.

Sanjay Dutt, an MLC, resigned from Council last month to
pave way for Prithviraj Chavan, who has to get elected to the
Legislative Council before May 11, when he will be completing
six months in the office.

The notification for the by-election will be issued on
April 18, last date for filing nomination is April 25,
scrutiny of papers will take place on April 26, last day of
withdrawal is April 28 and voting would take place on May 5.

Earlier, the Election Commission had to seek permission
from the Bombay High Court to hold the by-election for the
seat, as former Shiv Sena MLC Anil Parab has filed a petition
in the High Court, challenging the June 2010 Council elections
in which four MNS MLAs were allowed to vote despite being
under suspension.

Sanjay Dutt was one of the victorious candidates. But High
Court yesterday said the by-election can be held.

PTI