Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Thursday requested the Election Commission to declare elections to the state legislative council’s nine vacant seats, after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray called Prime Minister Narendra Modi to seek his intervention in his nomination to the council.
On April 9, the Maharashtra Cabinet had decided to recommend to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari that he nominate Thackeray as a member of the legislative council through his quota of seats. Thackeray will lose his post if he does not become a member of one of the two Houses of the legislature by May 28. The nationwide lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic had forced the Election Commission to defer the polls for the nine seats.
Thackeray had called the prime minister to discuss his nomination and expressed displeasure at the politics being played over the matter.
The governor said that the elections should be held “at the earliest” to end the political uncertainty in the state. “The governor has requested the Election Commission to declare elections to the nine vacant seats at the earliest,” a press release from his office said. “The governor has made the request to fill the nine seats in the legislative council, that have been lying vacant since April 24, with a view to end the current uncertainty in the state.”
Maharashtra is also facing an escalating health crisis. With over 10,000 Covid-19 cases and nearly 500 deaths, it is the worst-hit state in the country.
Thackeray was sworn in as the chief minister on November 28 without being a member of either House. The Constitution allows such ministers to be sworn in as long as they get elected to the legislature within six months.
Council members are elected for a six-year term. Thirty members are elected by MLAs, 22 elected from local authorities’ constituencies and seven each are elected from graduates and teachers constituencies. Apart from this, the governor also nominates 12 members.