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NCP, Cong, Sena field nominees for Council chairman’s election

Devendra Fadnavis

Mumbai: All major parties in Maharashtra, except BJP, have fielded their candidates for the election of Legislative Council’s chairman, after Congress leader Shivajirao Deshmukh was ousted from the post.

The voting for the chairman’s election will be held tomorrow.

The NCP, having the highest strength of 28 in the 78-member Council, has fielded Ramraje Nimbalkar, known to be a close associate of party chief Sharad Pawar.

Nimbalkar, who hails from the royal Nimbalkar family of Phaltan in western Maharashtra, was a minister in the earlier Congress-NCP government.

The Congress, which has 21 members in the Upper House, has fielded Sharad Ranpise, who has been a party loyalist since 1973 and is said to be close to former MPCC president Manikrao Thakre.

Ranpise was first elected to the Legislative Council in 2002. In 2012, he got elected unopposed as MLC.

The Shiv Sena, having seven members in the House, has fielded Neelam Gorhe for the post.

Gorhe is also Sena spokesperson and chairman of Stree Adhar Kendra, an NGO working to protect women’s rights.

Besides, Shrikant Deshpande, an independent MLC from Amravati Teachers’ constituency, has also filed his nomination.

The Opposition NCP had on March 16 got support of the ruling BJP to get a no-confidence motion against Shivajirao Deshmukh passed.

The BJP has 12 members in the Council.

Shiv Sena leader Ramdas Kadam said that his party leaders met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to request the BJP to back its candidate.

“We have fielded a candidate as the BJP has not nominated anyone. We met the CM and requested him to back our candidate for the chairman’s post. If the BJP fields a candidate, we are ready to support him,” Kadam said.

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