Mumbai, May 24 : Counting of votes was underway today for five out of the six local bodies seats where biennial elections to the Maharashtra Legislative Council were held on Monday.
The counting began at 8 am, an election official said.
The Election Commission deferred the counting process for the election to Osamanabad-Beed-Latur seat in view of a court order pertaining to suspension of some members of local bodies in Beed district.
The election was held as three members of the NCP, two of the BJP and one of the Congress are retiring from the Upper House of the state Legislature on June 21.
As many as 16 candidates are in fray in the six seats where there are total 4,621 voters, comprising members of 128zilla parishads, municipal corporations, municipal councils, nagar panchayats and the cantonment board.
In the 78-member Legislative Council, the NCP is the single largest party with 23 seats, followed by the Congress (19), the BJP (18) and the Shiv Sena (nine).
The JD(U), the PWP and the Peoples’ Republican Party have one member each while there are six independents.
The term of NCP’s Anil Tatkare, who represents the Raigad-Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg local bodies’ constituency, will end on May 31.
Besides, the terms of NCP’s Jayant Jadhav (Nashik) and Abdullah Khan A Latif Khan Durani (Parbhani-Hingoli), BJP’s Pravin Pote (Amravati) andMitesh Bhangdia (Wardha-Chandrapur -Gadchiroli) and Congress’ Dilip Deshmukh (Osmanabad-Latur- Beed) would end on June 21.
Pote is Minister of State for Industries in the Maharashtra government.
The Osmanabad-Beed-Latur seat contest is being viewed as a battle of prestige between state Women and Child Welfare Minister Pankaja Munde (BJP) and her cousin Dhananjay Munde (NCP), the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council.
Earlier, Ramesh Karad of the NCP had withdrawn his nomination from the seat at the last minute.
Karad, a staunch supporter of Pankaja Munde, had joined the NCP and was immediately declared the party candidate.
But after Karad’s withdrawal, the NCP extended its support to independent candidate Ashok Jagdale. The BJP has fielded former NCP minister Suresh Dhas for this bypoll.
The ruling BJP and the Shiv Sena, the warring constituent in the Maharashtra government, are contesting three seats each.
The Sena is contesting Raigad-Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg, Nasik and Parbhani-Hingoli seats.
The NCP is taking on the Sena in Raigad-Ratnagiri- Sindhudurg and Nashik.
In the Parbhani-Hingoli local authorities constituency BJP rebel Suresh Nangare is in fray, along with Shiv Sena’s Viplav Bajoria and Congress’ Suresh Deshmukh.
BJP’s Rajya Sabha member and former chief minister Narayan Rane has declared his support to NCP candidate Aniket Tatkare in the Raigad-Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg local authorities constituency, against Sena’s Rajeev Sabale.
Pravin Pote of the BJP is contesting from Amaravati constituency against Anil Madhogaria of the Congress.