The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Friday decided to hold a biennial election to the Maharashtra Legislative Councils (MLCs) by the members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) for nine vacant seats on May 21. The last date for filing nomination has been fixed for May 11.
The decision comes two days after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray called up Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention in view of the Governor B S Koshyari sitting over the recommendation of the Maharashtra cabinet to nominate Thackeray to Legislative Assembly.
Following this, on April 30, the Governor Koshyari wrote to the ECI to conduct the elections for the nine vacant seats of the legislative assembly at the ‘earliest’. In his letter, he said that the present Chief Minister of the State Udhav Thackeray was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra on November 28, 2019, and pointed out that as per constitutional provisions he has to become a member of either the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council within a period of six months i.e. on or before May 27, 2020.
He added, the ground level situation is contained and as of now appears to be improving with several relaxations being made by the Government. Hence keeping in view, the entire situation, the Election Commission has been requested to consider working out modalities to hold elections.
ECI also took note of representations from various political parties– the Maharashtra Vidhanmandal Congress Paksh, the Shiv Sena VidhiMandal Paksh and, the Rashtravadi Congress Party requesting Commission to conduct the said election, the schedule of which was deferred due to force majeure conditions.
Commission also decided that the Union Home Secretary, who is Chairperson of National Executive Committee in ex-officio capacity under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, should depute an officer of suitable seniority to ensure that the preventive measures are put in place in keeping with the provisions of the said Act for the smooth conduct of the electoral process for the said election.
It has also directed the Chief Secretary to depute an officer from the State to ensure that the extant instructions regarding COVID-19 are complied with while making arrangements for conducting the elections. Further Commission has appointed Chief Electoral Officer, Maharashtra as Observer for this election.
Read the Press Note by ECI here: