In a massive development on Thursday, 9 candidates including Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray were elected unopposed to the Maharashtra Legislative Council. Shiv Sena's Neelam Gorhe, NCP's Shashikant Shinde and Amol Mitkari, Congress' Rajesh Rathod, and BJP's Ramesh Karad, Ranjitsinh Mohite Patil, Praveen Datke and Gopichand Padalkar are the other newly elected members. Thackeray's election to the Maharashtra Legislative Council implies that he shall able to complete his full term as the Chief Minister of the state. Till now, the Shiv Sena chief was not a member of either the Legislative Assembly or the Legislative Council despite being sworn in as the Maharashtra CM on November 28, 2019.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and eight others elected unopposed to state Legislative Council: Official— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) May 14, 2020
As per Article 164(4) of the Constitution, a non-legislator ceases to be a minister if he is not elected to either House of the legislature within a period of 6 months. Thackeray was set to be fielded as a candidate to one of the 9 MLC seats falling vacant on April 24. However, the Election Commission of India indefinitely postponed the Rajya Sabha and Legislative Council polls in the current period owing to the COVID-19 crisis. Thus, the only option for Thackeray was to enter the Legislative Council as a nominated member. Despite the Maharashtra Cabinet recommending his nomination as an MLC twice, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari refused to follow suit.
Thackeray reportedly had a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding this issue on April 29. A day later, the Governor wrote to the Election Commission of India requesting the election for the 9 MLC seats to be held soon. On May 1, the ECI agreed to this request and decided to conduct the MLC elections with the counting of votes scheduled on May 21. However, Congress's insistence on fielding another candidate fissures in the Maha Vikas Aghadi. In fact, Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut hinted that Thackeray was unwilling to contest the election unless the Congress withdrew its candidate. After further deliberation, Congress withdrew the candidature of its second candidate, thus ensuring the unopposed MLC election.