Mumbai, Nov 19: Polling began this morning in the biennial election for six seats in the Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) from as many local bodies, where all major parties are in the fray. The polling started at 8 AM and will continue till 4 PM. Counting of votes will take place on November 22.
Elected members of municipal corporations and councils are voting in these polls to choose six candidates for the Upper House. The six-year term of sitting legislators - four from NCP, one each from Congress and BJP - ends on December 5. NCP is at present holding Sangli-Satara, Yavatmal, Bhandara-Gondia and Pune seats, while Congress has Nanded and BJP Jalgaon. Congress and NCP are contesting the polls separately.
While NCP has withdrawn its candidate in Yavatmal and extended support to Shiv Sena, Congress has fielded candidates in Nanded, Sangli-Satara, Yavatmal, Bhandara-Gondia and Pune.
The Sharad Pawar-led party is contesting Sangli-Satara, Pune and Bhandara-Gondia seats and backing Independent candidate Shyamsunder Shinde in Nanded, and nominees of Sena and BJP in Yavatmal and Jalgaon respectively. While BJP has fielded its candidates in Jalgaon, Bhandara-Gondia and Pune, Sena's nominee is in fray in Yavatmal. There are 688 voters in Pune, 440 in Yavatmal, 472 in Nanded, 570 in Satara-Sangli, 550 in Jalgaon and 393 in Bhandara-Gondia.
In the 78-member Upper House of the legislature, BJP has 16 MLCs, Congress (19), NCP (26), Shiv Sena (8), Lok Bharti Party (1), PWP (1), PRP (1) and Independents (6). In Nanded, sitting Congress MLC Amar Rajurkar is pitted against Shyam Sunder Shinde (Independent). In Sangli-Satara, Mohan Kadam of Congress is taking on Shekhar Gore of NCP. Yavatmal is seeing a direct contest between Shankar Bade of Congress and Jaywant Sawant (Sena).
Pune is witnessing a triangular contest among Anil Bhosale (NCP), Ashok Yenpure (BJP) and Sanjay Jagtap (Congress). Two Independents, one of them former NCP MLA Vilas Lande, are also in the fray there.
In Jalgaon, Chandulal Patel (BJP) and seven Independent candidates are in the ring as NCP and Congress have withdrawn their nominees. Bhandara-Gondia is also seeing a triangular contest between Praful Agrawal (Congress), Rajendra Jain (NCP) and Parinay Phuke (BJP). Five Independents are also contesting from the seat.