The voting is underway for the biennial election to the Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) for graduates’ constituency in Mumbai and Konkan, and to teachers’ constituency in Mumbai and Nashik. After a bitter face-off in the Palghar Lok Sabha bypoll, the ruling alliance partners in Maharashtra — the BJP and the Shiv Sena — are clashing again in three of the constituencies.
The elections are held in Mumbai Graduates', Mumbai Teachers', Konkan Graduates' and Nashik Teachers' constituencies for the Legislature's Upper House. There are a total of 71 candidates in fray for the four seats.
The terms of sitting members — Deepak Sawant (Shiv Sena - Mumbai Graduates), Kapil Patil (Lok Bharati party - Mumbai Teachers), Niranjan Davkhare (switched from NCP to BJP - Konkan Graduates) and Apoorva Hire (Independent - Nashik Teachers) — are expiring on 7 July.
Why the elections assume significance
The Shiv Sena has denied ticket to state health minister Deepak Sawant from Mumbai Graduates' constituency which he represented for two consecutive terms.
Besides, the election in the Konkan Graduates' seat is also going to be keenly-watched as sitting MLC Niranjan Davkhare quit the NCP in May to join the BJP.
Shiv Sena and BJP will clash in the Konkan and the Mumbai Graduates' constituencies.
Davkhare of the BJP will take on Sena's Sanjay More in the Konkan Graduates' seat. The NCP has fielded Najeeb Mulla, who has support of the Congress and other like-minded parties.
In the Mumbai Graduates' seat, Vilas Potnis of the Shiv Sena is pitted against BJP's Amit Mehta. The Congress and the NCP have lent support to Independent Rajendra Korde. Jalinder Sarode of the Lok Bharati party is also in fray from the seat.
In the Mumbai Teachers' seat, Shiv Sena's Shivaji Shendge will clash with sitting MLC Kapil Patil (Lok Bharati). Patil has the support of the Congress and the NCP while the BJP is backing Independent nominee Anil Deshmukh.
In Nashik Teachers' seat, BJP's Aniket Patil is pitted against 23 Independents. The NCP is supporting Independent candidate Sandeep Bedse.
When asked about the ruling allies directly pitted against each other in two of the four Council seats going to polls, BJP spokesman Keshav Upadhyay said his party is in favour of an alliance. "If the alliance materialises in future, we will contest together," he was quoted as saying by PTI.
Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan said his party had never contested the teachers' and graduates' constituencies in the Legislative Council but supported Independents and like-minded parties.
About teachers' and graduates' constituencies
A graduates' constituency is one in which only graduates from any recognised Indian university, or having an equivalent qualification, can vote.
In a teachers' constituency, only a full-time teacher in at least a secondary school or higher institutions can register and vote.
In the 78-member Maharashtra Legislative Council, 31 MLCs are elected by the state Assembly members, 21 by local authorities, 12 are nominated by the governor and seven each (total 14) are elected by graduates and teachers.
The constituencies, seven each for teachers and graduates, are Mumbai, Pune, Konkan, Aurangabad, Nagpur, Nashik, and Amravati.
Schools stayed shut for MLC polls
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) education department had declared Monday as a holiday for all government and private schools to allow teachers to exercise their franchise.
Mumbai Mirror reported schools not affiliated to Maharashtra board said they will function normally though they promised to allow teachers to take break from work if they want to vote. “While state board schools will remain shut, in ICSE schools, teachers who have enrolled as voters will be allowed to vote. Most staff members in ICSE schools are not eligible to vote,” the report quoted Francis Swamy, joint secretary of Archdiocese of Bombay — which manages more than 100 Catholic schools in Mumbai as saying.
Meanwhile, colleges will remain open. According to The Asian Age, the University of Mumbai had directed all of its affiliated colleges to allow registered teachers and professors to take paid leave for the election but didn't mention anything about the functioning of colleges.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Jun 25, 2018 14:49 PM