Eknath Shinde-led saffron alliance confident of winning 5 of 6 seats in RS polls

Elections to be held on Feb 27

22-Eknath-Shinde Eknath Shinde | Amey Masnabdar

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led saffron alliance government in Maharashtra is confident that it will pocket five of the six Rajya Sabha seats from the state for which election is to be held on February 27.

Six Rajya Sabha members from Maharashtra are due to retire in April. They are: V. Muraleedharan, Union minister Narayan Rane and former Union minister Prakash Javadekar (all from BJP), Kumar Ketkar of the Congress, Anil Desai of the Shiv Sena (UBT) and Vandana Chavan of the NCP (Sharad Pawar).

To get elected, each candidate from the respective parties will need 42 votes. The BJP has 106 MLAs; it also has the support of more than a dozen independents. So, three BJP candidates will easily win the election on February 27.

Shinde-led Shiv Sena has 40 legislators while 15 have remained loyal to Uddhav Thackeray. However, after speaker Rahul Narwekar's ruling that Shinde-led faction is the real Shiv Sena and its whip will be applicable to all Sena MLAs, it would be interesting to see what stand the legislators loyal to Uddhav take.

Shinde is likely to announce the candidature of Milind Deora for this election. Deora recently joined Shiv Sena after a long innings in Congress.

In the case of NCP, Ajit Pawar faction is also confident that it can get elected its own candidate. Speaker Narwekar is expected to decide on the split in the NCP on February 15. Ajit Pawar claims the support of 43 of the 54 NCP legislators. If that is true, then his candidate will also win the RS election.

The name of Parth Pawar, son of Ajit Pawar, is being discussed as a possible NCP candidate.

Thus, the Congress will be the lone opposition party from MVA alliance to send one MP to Rajya Sabha on the basis of its strength in the state legislature. The party is yet to decide on the candidate.

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