Setback for Maharashtra Govt as Malik, Deshmukh denied bail for voting, court today denied bail to two jailed leaders, whose votes were crucial in tomorrow’s Rajya Sabha elections. This is a major defeat for Maharashtra’s ruling alliance.
The setback occurred just one day before an election in which every vote will be counted and decisions could be made at the last minute.
Nawab Malik, a Maharashtra minister, has been in prison since the Enforcement Directorate arrested him in February in a money laundering case. Anil Deshmukh, the state’s former home minister, is also in jail on similar charges.
They had asked a day’s bail to vote in the Rajya Sabha election on Friday, but the court agreed with the Enforcement Directorate that “prisoners do not have voting rights.”
Both are members of the Nationalist Congress Party, which is part of the Shiv Sena-led alliance alongside the Congress.
At the same time, the opposition BJP gained an edge today when its leader Devendra Fadnavis passed the Covid native test, allowing him to vote tomorrow.
In Maharashtra, elections will be held for six Rajya Sabha seats, with seven candidates vying for the seats for the first time in more than two decades.
Sanjay Raut and Sanjay Pawar are the Shiv Sena’s two candidates. Union minister Piyush Goyal, Anil Bonde, and Dhananjay Mahadik are the three candidates put forward by the opposition BJP.
Praful Patel and Imran Pratapgarhi, both members of the ruling coalition, have each nominated one candidate.
To win a Rajya Sabha seat, a candidate must receive 42 votes. The Maha Vikas Aghadi, led by the Shiv Sena, has the numbers to win three of the six Rajya Sabha seats that will be contested by 288 MLAs.
The BJP, which has 106 members in the legislature, has fielded a third candidate, setting up a duel for the sixth seat between Dhananjay Mahadik of the BJP and Sanjay Pawar of the Shiv Sena. Smaller parties and independents, which make up 29 MLAs, will have a large say in who wins.
The BJP claims to have 22 more votes and the support of seven independent MLAs. It is attempting to close the deficit by gaining the backing of an additional 13 people.
To avoid betrayals and crossvoting, the Sena, NCP, and Congress sent their legislators to resorts.
The coalition has 26 votes in excess of the required number to win the sixth seat. Former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has reached out to independent MLAs for support, indicating that the BJP has sequestered its members.