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BJP leaves no stone unturned in its efforts to get Lad elected as MLC

Thursday, December 07, 2017
By Prashant Hamine

Despite having the numbers on its side, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is taking no chances in ensuring a comfortable victory for its official nominee, Prasad Lad as it gears up for an electoral showdown with the opposition Congress in the bye-election to the lone Legislative Council seat of Elected by MLAs. Yesterday, both the BJP and the opposition Congress held briefing sessions for their respective MLAs and briefed them about how to cast their secret preferential ballot and how to mark the first and second choice of candidates in the preferential order.

In order to ensure that all its 122 MLAs cast their votes within the stipulated time between 9 am and 4 pm, the BJP has instructed all its MLAs to first sign their attendance muster at the party office before going to cast their vote in the Central Hall of the Vidhan Bhavan. After casting their vote, the BJP MLAs will once again have to go back to the party office and again sign the muster as a confirmation that they have indeed cast their ballot, disclosed state BJP legislature party chief whip Raj K Purohit, yesterday. He further claimed that the Sena-BJP candidate will secure 202 votes. Shiv Sena MLA and Minister of State for Fisheries, Arjun Khotkar will not be able to cast his vote as the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High court has unseated him, last week, in an election petition filed by losing Congress candidate, Kailash Gorantyal in the 2014 case.

Earlier in the evening yesterday, the Congress held a gathering for its 42 MLAs at the Y B Chavan Centre near Mantralaya. Whereas, the BJP leadership called its MLAs for a meeting at the Taj Mahal Hotel over dinner. The Sena MLAs too joined in, since the Sena leadership has declared its support to the candidature of Lad. With the Sena supporting Lad, the latter is assured of 184votes, that includes 122 of BJP and 63 of Sena. The BJP has the support of another 16 legislators including independent and small allies. Congress and NCP has combined 83 votes. The winning candidate needs to secure a quota of 145 votes. The result of the bye-poll will be declared on same day by the evening.

The electoral college (voters) for this constituency comprises of the 288 MLAs of the lower house, the legislative assembly. The BJP has 122 MLAs and with Sena which now supports Lad has 63 MLAs, their combined tally of votes is 185, which is 40 more than the required quota.

The BJP has enlisted support of three Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) MLAs, 1 Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), 1 Rashtriya Samaj Paksha (RSP) and 7 Independent MLAs. Together, the BJP led alliance has a total vote share of 202 votes. On the other hand, the Congress led alliance, considering the six rebels voting for Lad could see its own tally come down to 36.  The current partywise strength in the 78 member Legislative Council is: NCP 23, Congress 19, BJP 17, Sena 9, JD-U 1, PWP-I 1, PRP 1, Independents 6 and vacant 1. While the current partywise strength in the 288 member Legislative Assembly is as follows: BJP 122, Sena 63, Congress 42, NCP 41, PWP-I 3, BVA 3, MIM 2, MNS 1, Samajwadi Party 1, BBM 1, CPI-M 1, RSP 1, Independents 7 and Nominated 1 (Vacant).

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