Mumbai, May 1: Elections to the Maharashtra legislative council (MLC) will be held on May 21, said a statement issued by the Election Commission on Friday. A total of nine seats are scheduled to be contested in the biennial polls to the upper house of state legislature. The elections are crucial for Uddhav Thackeray, the incumbent Chief Minister, to continue in his position. Uddhav Thackeray Speaks to PM Narendra Modi Amid Delay in Governor's Decision on His Nomination to State Council.

The voting, if necessitated, will be conducted under strict social-distancing measures. A possibility exists that the political parties nominate their candidates with consensus, leading to the election of their nominees without the polling being organised.

Notably, the votes in the legislative council elections are cast by members of the local bodies. Unlike the assembly elections, the common electorate do not directly elect members to the council.

Update by ANI

The EC nod for legislative council polls came a day after Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari wrote to the polling body, urging them to conduct the elections at the earliest. The request for early polls was based on the requirement to elect Thackeray to the upper house before end of the month.

As per the constitutional norms, a person who is neither a member of the state assembly or legislative council can continue to remain in the Cabinet only for six months from the period he was appointed. With Thackeray taking oath as the Chief Minister on November 28, he is necessitated to be elected to either House before May 27.

The Governor's letter to EC on Thursday was preceded by a phone call from Thackeray to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The CM reportedly raised apprehensions over the alleged attempts by the Raj Bhavan and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to create political instability in the state.

Thackeray was compelled to dial the PM after his repeated pleas, along with recommendations sent twice by the state cabinet for his nomination to the council, failed to elicit a response from the Governor. After Koshyari wrote to the EC on Thursday, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis said the decision should be welcomed.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on May 01, 2020 12:45 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website