Cong grapples with nominations for RS, MLC in Maharashtra

New Delhi: With aspirants galore, Congress leadership grappled with the issue of nominations for the Rajya Sabha and Legislative Council elections from Maharashtra at a marathon meeting today.

Senior leaders A K Antony and Ahmad Patel held parleys with Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and PCC chief Manikrao Thakre ahead of the elections to the six Rajya Sabha and 10 Legislative Council seats scheduled for next month.

Chavan also had a meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi before the parleys began.

A section of the party is wanting that there should be contest for the elections in order to make inroads in the Shiv Sena-BJP votes as it feels the opposition was not united.

There have been reports that moves were afoot between the Maharashtra Congress and the Shiv Sena-BJP to ensure that there is no contest for the elections as there is a belief that major political parties can ensure victory of their candidates without a fight.

Congress sources said the party has received 24 applications for the Rajya Sabha and 129 for the Legislative Council seats.

The ruling Congress-NCP combine has 144 MLAs (Congress 82 and NCP 62) in the assembly and enjoys the support of a majority of 24 Independents. The saffron alliance's strength is 91 (BJP 46 and Shiv Sena 45).

While 42 first preference votes are required by a candidate for a straight win in the Rajya Sabha poll, 27 votes will see an aspirant through without any hindrance in the elections to the legislative council.

Both Congress-NCP coalition and BJP-Sena combine can secure easy victory for three and two candidates respectively in the Rajya Sabha poll.

Congress-NCP combination, with support from majority of Independents, can easily secure six council seats and Sena-BJP can bag three without a problem.