Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray meets Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on the occasion of ‘Maharashtra Day’ at Raj Bhawan in Mumbai on Friday.
NEW DELHI :
PAVING the way for Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to enter the State legislature as a member, the Election Commission on Friday announced holding polls to nine seats of the State legislative council on May 21. The polls were deferred on April 3 due to the coronavirus outbreak. Thackeray, who was sworn in on November 28 last year, has time till May 27 to get elected to the State legislature, failing which he will have to step down. Maharashtra Governor B S Koshyari had requested the Election Commission on Thursday to declare polls for nine vacant seats to the State Legislative Council.
These seats fell vacant on April 24. The decision to hold the polls on May 21 was taken by the “full Commission” with Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra in Delhi being joined by Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora over video from the US. While a notification will be issued on May 4, nominations can be filed till May11.The counting of votes will be held on May 21evening,an hour after the conclusion of polls at 4 pm as per usual practice adopted for Rajya Sabha and legislative council polls.Inastatement,thepollpanel said in cases of former Prime Ministers P V Narasimha Rao in 1991 and HD Deve Gowdain1996; and several Chief Ministers including Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan in 1991), Rabri Devi (Bihar in 1997), Vijay Bhaskar Reddy (AndhraPradeshin1993), it had conducted by-elections to fulfil similar constitutional requirement.
“The Commission noted that this has been the consistent practice in the past,” the statement said. The poll panel alsodecidedthattheUnionHome 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 Act for the smooth conduct ofthe electoral process. The statement said the EC had receivedaletteronThursdayfrom theStateChiefSecretaryinwhich the official pointed out the various measures taken to control pandemic and that in the State Government’s assessment, elections to thenine seats of MLCs by MLAs could be held in asafe environment. The State Government assuredtheCommission that it is fully committed to ensuring that the elections are held in total hygienic conditions with social distancing measures and other conditions imposed by the competent authorities.