The Election Commission of India (ECI) in its meeting on Friday decided to hold elections to the Legislative Council in Maharashtra. Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, on Thursday, had requested the Election Commission of India to declare elections to the 9 vacant seats of the Maharashtra Legislative Council ‘at the earliest’.
In his letter, the Governor pointed out that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray who is not a member of either house of the State Legislature needs to get elected to the Council before May 27, 2020. This development comes a day after Thackeray spoke to PM Modi over the delay in his nomination to the state council.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora, who is stranded in the United States due to lockdown, joined the meeting via video conferencing. Arora went to the US early March and was supposed to come back in the first week of April but could not as India stopped international and domestic flights from March 25 onwards.
Earlier in the day, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray paid a courtesy visit to Raj Bhavan on the occasion of 'Maharashtra Day' and met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, for around 20 minutes. According to sources, Uddhav discussed a variety of issues with the Governor which includes the state's handling of COVID-19 crisis.
On April 27, the state cabinet sent a reminder to Governor Koshyari on nominating Thackeray to the Maharashtra legislative council as the governor's pick. Koshyari is yet to accept the nomination, as two seats from governor's quota are currently unfilled - after 2 NCP councillors resigned to join BJP. After the cabinet's reminder, two PILs have been filed with the Bombay High Court, urging for holding immediate elections to get Thackeray elected to the Council.
Thackeray was sworn-in as the Maharashtra Chief Minister on November 28, last year. He is currently not a member of either of the House -- Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council. According to the Constitution, Thackeray has to be elected to either Assembly or Council within six months in order to continue in his post. Uddhav Thackeray had also dialled PM Modi regarding the nomination.