The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday, 20 June, won 5 out of 10 seats in the Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) elections, triggering fears of cross-voting within the ruling Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance.
Soon afterward, Shiv Sena MLA and a close confidante of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Eknath Shinde, gathered at least 30 Shiv Sena MLAs in a resort in Gujarat's Surat, jeopardising the future of the MVA government in the state.
We look at how the MLC elections were a warning to the Shiv Sena about the rebellion brewing within the party, as the BJP needed 17-18 votes to win its fifth seat, which they somehow managed to attain and emerged victorious.
First, Let's Do the Math
Eleven candidates were in the fray for the 10 MLC seats, for which BJP had enough votes to win only four seats. But still, the party fielded a fifth candidate. Similarly, the Congress also had votes enough for one seat but they fielded candidates hoping for two.
When the results were announced, the BJP won four seats, the NCP and Shiv Sena shared two each, while the Congress won one.
Now, the fight was between the Congress and the BJP for the tenth seat.
Congress vs BJP for the Fifth Seat
As many as 26 votes were needed to get an MLA elected in these elections. The Congress had 44 MLAs and their first candidate won easily.
The party had 18 extra votes. They got assurance of three surplus votes from the Shiv Sena and 7 independent MLAs. Thus, the Congress needed just one more vote to win the tenth seat.
The BJP has 106 MLAs and the NDA alliance has a strength of 113 in the Maharashtra Assembly. They used 104 votes to win four seats and had only nine votes in the pocket for the fifth seat. The BJP needed 26 more votes to win the seat.
How Did the BJP Manage To Win?
The BJP was still short by 17 votes after getting the support of their alliance partners and others. If we calculate the voting pattern – the same as the Rajya Sabha elections – they still needed 7-8 votes to face the challenge.
Devendra Fadnavis has claimed that the BJP got 134 votes more than they got in the Rajya Sabha elections and their fifth candidate won.
Equation Before the Elections
The effective number of votes in the Maharashtra Assembly was reduced from 288 to 285 as two NCP MLAs, namely Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh, were in jail, while Ramesh Latke of Shiv Sena had passed away.
The high court didn't allow Malik and Deshmukh to vote. A candidate needed 26 votes of first priority to win the elections. The BJP had 106 MLAs, Shiv Sena 55, Congress 44, and the NCP had a strength of 52 MLAs.
Role of Independents and Smaller Parties
The votes of 20 Independents, two each from the Samajwadi Party (SP), PGP, and AIMIM, played a crucial role, as without them, no party could win the tenth seat.
The Congress candidate needed four surplus votes from Shiv Sena and 12 additional votes, while the BJP needed 22 extra votes.
MVA Deceived Twice?
Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP alliance in Maharashtra has deceived the ruling MVA alliance twice in the last 10 days. First, the BJP managed to defeat the Rajya Sabha candidate of Shiv Sena on 11 June, and then, on 20 June, the Congress candidate was defeated in the MLC elections.