EC grants permission to hold Maharashtra Legislative Council Elections, big relief for Maharashtra CM
Maharashtra CM Udhav Thackeray has time till May 27 to get elected to the state legislature, failing which he will have to step down.
The Maharashtra legislative council elections will be conducted on May 21, 2020. The dates were announced after the Election Commission of India gave its go ahead for holding the Legislative Council elections in Maharashtra.
Maharashtra Governor B S Koshyari had requested the Election Commission earlier on April 30 to announce the election date for the nine vacant seats in Maharashtra’s Legislative Council. The seats have been vacant since April 24.
The Election Commission has directed that the necessary guidelines will need to be followed to ensure safety from coronavirus infection during the elections
Why are Maharashtra legislative council polls being conducted now?
Maharashtra Chief Minister Udhav Thackeray is not an elected member of the Maharashtra State Legislature. He was sworn in as the Chief Minister of the state on November 28, 2019. Under the constitutional provisions, if a Chief Minister is not an elected member of the state legislature, then he has to get elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council within 6 months otherwise he will have to step down. Udhav Thackeray has time till May 27 to get elected to the state legislature. If he fails to get elected before then, he will be forced to step down.
• The announcement of the current Maharashtra legislative council polls will pave way for Thackeray to enter the state legislature as a member of the Legislative Council.
• The polls will be conducted for the nine seats left vacant in the legislative council since April 24. The MLC polls were initially supposed to be held on April but were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak.
• The permission to conduct the Maharashtra legislative council elections on May 21 was granted by the full Election Commission comprising Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra during a virtual meeting.
• The commission noted that this is not the first by-elections are being held to fulfil constitutional requirement. Similar elections have taken place in the past as well such as in the case of former PMs P V Narasimha Rao (1991) and HD Deve Gowda (1996) and several state CMs including Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan in 1991, Vijay Bhaskar Reddy in Andhra Pradesh in 1993 and Rabri Devi in Bihar in 1997.
• The poll panel has decided that the Union Home Secretary should depute an officer of suitable seniority to ensure all preventive measures are in place in keeping with the provisions of the Act to facilitate smooth and safe electoral process.
• The state government in a letter has assured the Commission that it will be fully committed to ensuring that the elections are held in completely safe and hygienic conditions with proper social distancing.
Maharashtra Legislative Council Elections
The Maharashtra Legislative Council Elections will be held for nine seats. The nine council members will be elected by 288 members of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. The Bharatiya Janata Party is the single-largest party in the state.
Udhav Thackeray has never previously held any constitutional post or personally contested in any elections. His son, Aditya Thackerey was the first-ever member of the Thackeray family to contest elections. He contested and won from Worli constituency by a huge margin.
Due to a brief political crisis in Maharashtra after the election results, Udhav Thackeray took oath as the 19th Chief Minister of Maharashtra after being unanimously elected as the leader of the Maha Vikas Aghadi, a post-poll coalition comprising the Shiv Sena-NCP and the Indian National Congress.