Maha set for RS polls to 6 seats amid a splintered political spectrum

Mumbai, Jan 29 (IANS): The upcoming biennial elections for 6 Rajya Sabha Seats are being held at a time when the state's political spectrum is sharply divided into different entities, comprising the ruling MahaYuti belonging to the NDA and the Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi of the INDIA bloc.

The MahaYuti consists of the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party-Nationalist Congress Party (AP), while the MVA is made of Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (SP)-Shiv Sena (UBT) -- with their respective strengths in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, which will be the electoral college for the RS polls.

The retiring RS members are BJP's Narayan Rane, Prakash Javadekar and V. Muraleedharan, Congress' Kumar Ketkar, Shiv Sena (UBT)'s Anil Desai and NCP (SP)'s Vandana Chavan.

They were all elected in the March-April 2018 elections when the political combinations were different -- the BJP was with the undivided Shiv Sena then, and the Congress was with the undivided NCP.

Today, the BJP and the Congress are allied with one faction each of the split Shiv Sena and NCP but the ruling MahaYuti has a combined strength of over 200 MLAs in its fold.

This time, both sides are playing cautiously as the legislative combination in the 288-member house has drastically changed in the past four years, plus the need to keep all allies in good humour ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Presently on the ruling side, the BJP has 105 members, Shiv Sena 40, NCP (AP) around 35-40 and on the Opposition side Congress 45, NCP (SP) around 13-18, and Shiv Sena (UBT) has 16.

The other smaller parties are: Bahujan Vikas Aghadi has 3 MLAs, Samajwadi Party, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, Prahar Janshakti Party have 2 each, and one each are from Communist Party of India (M), Peasants & Workers Party, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, Swabhimani Party, Rashtriya Samaj Party, Jan Surajya Party and Krantikari Shetkari Party, plus 13 Independent legislators, with several supporting the government.

With the highly emaciated Shiv Sena (UBT) and NCP (SP), the Congress has been catapulted to a critical political position, though the BJP is unlikely to allow the elections without a tough contest and bagging the highest number of seats.

After the Election Commission declared the poll schedules on Monday, hectic lobbying has begun by hopefuls in all the parties for the coveted tickets to the Upper House of Parliament in what will be the last (indirect) election before the Lok Sabha elections this year.



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Title: Maha set for RS polls to 6 seats amid a splintered political spectrum

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