Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and eight other candidates were elected unopposed to the state Legislative Council on Thursday, according to PTI. The Shiv Sena leader was contesting his first-ever election.
The elections were to take place on May 21. However, an unidentified polling official said that all nine candidates were elected on Thursday itself, since they were unopposed. “The result was officially announced on Thursday after the deadline for withdrawal of nominations ended at 3 pm,” the official added.
The other members elected on Thursday were Legislative Council Deputy Chairperson Neelam Gorhe of the Shiv Sena, four candidates of the Bharatiya Janata Party – Ranjitsinh Mohite Patil, Gopichand Padalkar, Praveen Datke and Ramesh Karad, Nationalist Congress Party leader Shashikant Shinde and Amol Mitkari and Congress leader Rajesh Rathod.
Thackeray was sworn in as the Maharashtra chief minister on November 28 without being a member of either House. The Constitution allows ministers to remain in their posts as long as they get elected to the legislature within six months.
Legislative Council members are elected for a six-year term. The Maharashtra Legislative Council has 78 seats. Thirty members are elected by MLAs, 22 elected from local authorities’ constituencies and seven each are elected from graduates’ and teachers’ constituencies. The governor nominates 12 members.
The nationwide lockdown, imposed since March 25 to combat the coronavirus pandemic had forced the Election Commission to defer the May 21 polls for the nine seats. Last month, the Shiv Sena leader called Prime Minister Narendra Modi to seek his intervention in his nomination to the Legislative Council and expressed his unhappiness over the stalling of the process.
On Sunday, the Congress announced that it would withdraw one of its two candidates for the May 21 elections, which would help Thackeray enter the Council unopposed.