Mumbai 01.05.2020. Aaday after Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on attempts to create political instability in the state, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Thursday requested the Election Commission to declare elections to the nine vacant seats of the state’s Legislative Council.
In his letter to the poll panel, the Governor said the elections should be held ‘at the earliest’ with a view to end the current uncertainty in the state. The Governor stated that the central government has announced many relaxation measures regarding the enforcement of lockdown, elections to the council seats can be held with certain guidelines.
Thackeray had on Wednesday called up the Prime Minister and asked him to intervene, sources had said, as time runs out for him to save his CM seat.
The Shiv Sena chief, who is not a member of either house of the state legislature, was sworn in as chief minister on November 28, 2019. He has to become a member by May 28 when he completes six months in office. Otherwise he will cease to the chief minister.
The Election Commission is likely to discuss the demands for holding legislative council polls on Friday.
Sources in the poll panel said though they have not received the communication of the governor so far, the issue could be discussed on Friday as all three ruling alliance partners in Maharashtra — the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress — have appealed to the EC to conduct the Legislative Council polls, saying social distancing and other precautions can be taken during the voting procedure.
Before the coronavirus pandemic struck, Thackeray’s plan was to get elected to the Legislative Council by his MLAs in a March 26 election. However, the polls were postponed in the aftermath of COVID-19.
The Cabinet then recommended appointing the Shiv Sena chief as a Member of the Legislative Council as a Governor’s nominee, but Koshyari has stalled a decision on the nomination.
As per constitutional guidelines, Koshyari can nominate those “persons with special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as the following, namely: literature, science, art, co-operative movement and social service”.
Currently, there are two vacancies, resulting from two NCP legislators jumping ship to the BJP, to which Thackeray can be nominated.