Mumbai: Mahasrahtra government's petition seeking deferring of MLC elections due later this month has not been entertained by the Supreme Court, which said a democratic process cannot be halted at this stage, BJP leader and state minister Girish Bapat said on Wednesday.
While elections to six Legislative Council seats are slated for 19 November, 192 municipal councils and 20 nagar panchayats will go to polls in four phases between 27 November, 2016 and 8 January, 2017.
As per the process, the local body representatives elect new members to the Legislative Council.
"As we approached Supreme Court after announcement of the election schedule (for local body polls) by state Election Commission recently, the apex court refused to admit our plea, saying a democratic process cannot be halted at this stage," Bapat told PTI.
Bapat, who holds the Food and Drug Administration portfolio, said the government wanted the MLC elections to be put off as the term of the local body representatives, who will be voting for six MLCs, is getting over in December.
It would be appropriate if new representatives elect MLCs as their terms will be concurrent, he said.
In the 78-member Legislative Council, the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena combine lacks majority. NCP has 26 MLCs, Congress (19), Shiv Sena (8), BJP (16), Lok Bharti (1),
Shetkari Kamgar Paksha (1), and Independents (6). One seat, held by RPI, is vacant.
Explaining the rationale behind moving the apex court, Bapat said, "We felt it (the schedule of both the polls) ironical and wanted to avoid it."
However, he conceded that success in local body polls would have made the MLC polls "easier" for his party.
"Post 2014 elections of Lok Sabha and the Assembly, voters have inclined towards BJP and Shiv Sena. If elections of local governing bodies are conducted first, there is a possibility of BJP-Shiv Sena winning more seats in such elections.
"Naturally, our voters could have increased and hence MLC elections would have been easier for BJP-Sena," said Bapat.