Mumbai, May 26 (IANS): Two Shiv Sena leaders -- party Chief Spokesperson Sanjay Raut and Kolhapur District Chief Sanjay Pawar -- filed their nomination papers for the upcoming biennial elections to Rajya Sabha, here on Thursday.
In a major show of strength by Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), Raut and Pawar were joined by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Congress Legislature Party chief and Minister Balasaheb Thorat, Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar, many ministers, MPs and MLAs from the three allies.
Simultaneously, the NCP has decided to renominate senior leader Praful Patel for one seat, while the Congress is yet to announce its candidate.
With Sena filing nominations for two seats, the fate of Yuvraj Chhatrapati Sambhajiraje is not clear, as he had planned to contest the RS polls independently with support of all other parties.
There are indications that Sambhajiraje may withdraw from the contest and he is likely to announce his decision here on Friday.
Speaking to mediapersons after submitting their nomination papers, Raut said that both the RS seats "belong to the Sena" and the party would bag them comfortably.
To a question, Raut said even if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fields a third candidate, the Sena nominee would win as it has "more than the required number of votes".
The RS elections will fill up the vacancies by six retiring members -- one each from ruling (MVA) allies, Shiv Sena (Sanjay Raut), NCP (Praful Patel) and Congress (P. Chidambaram), and three from the BJP Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Piyush Goyal and Dr. Vikas Mahatme.
This time, given the re-alignment of the legislature after the 2019 Assembly elections, the BJP can win only two of the three seats it holds, the MVA can win their three seats, and Sena is now contesting the third seat held by the BJP.
The electoral college comprises the 288 MLAs and a candidate must get 42 votes to win a seat in the Upper House of Parliament.
The MVA has 170 MLAs -- Shiv Sena 55 (one MLA Ramesh Latke, died in Dubai last week), NCP 53, Congress 44, smaller parties/groups 10 and eight Independents.
On the Opposition side, BJP has 106 with other smaller parties/groups two and five Independents.