The Election Commission of India on Friday decided that the polls to the Maharashtra Legislative Council will be held on May 21, reported ANI. The state legislative council has nine vacant seats.

This will be the country’s first election since the nationwide coronavirus lockdown came into force on March 25. The elections will be held following protocols for virus precaution and the home ministry’s clearance, reported NDTV.

The Election Commission’s order came after a recommendation from Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. On Thursday evening, the governor requested the poll body to declare elections to the state legislative council to end the political uncertainty. Earlier, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had 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. With over 10,000 Covid-19 cases and 459 deaths, Maharashtra 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.