The BJP is poised to become the largest party in the legislative council, and with its ally Shiv Sena, will be seven seats short of majority once the elections to the Upper House of the state legislature are held on July 16. Elections will be held for 11 seats, BJP expected to win five; its joint tally with ally Sena will be seven seats shy of majority mark of 39.
Eleven seats, which are slated to fall vacant in the legislative council with the retirement of as many members, will be filled through voting by members of the assembly. At present, the legislative council’s total strength is 78. While the NCP has 22 members, the Congress has 19, the BJP 17 and Sena 9.
The remaining seats are held by smaller parties and Independents. The majority mark is 39.
Those who are set to retire are four NCP members, three Congress, two BJP and one each from the Shiv Sena, and Peasants and Workers Party (PWP).
To get elected to the legislative council, votes of 25 members of the assembly are required.
The BJP, which has 122 MLAs, can get five of its candidates elected to the Upper House, which means that it will have three more seats in addition to the two that are falling vacant.
The Shiv Sena, whose assembly strength is 63, can comfortably see two of its members through. If the Congress-NCP come together, they can get three candidates elected.
Akeen contest is likely for the 11th seat. The Sena, which will have 13 extra votes, is expected to push for a third candidate with the help of smaller parties and Independents.
Once the elections are over, the BJP’s strength in the Upper House will become 20, while Sena’s number will increase to 12. Together, the ruling alliance will have 32 seats. While that will still be short of the majority, the BJP-Sena government is inching towards the magic mark.
A majority in the legislative council is crucial for the government to ensure smooth passage of bills, vote of thanks on governor’s speech and other important legislative business.
Due to lack of majority, many bills like the one to regulate private universities were delayed and the government had to send it back to the assembly to get it passed.
The BJP can also stake claim to the post of the chairman in the legislative council. The ruling dispensation had been complaining about the partisan approach of the current chairman, who belongs to the NCP.