The polling for six Rajya Sabha seats in Maharashtra on Friday was marked by high-octane drama in and outside the polling station in Vidan Bhavan, despite claims by both the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) and the BJP about the victory of their nominees. The counting of 285 votes was postponed after the BJP and MVA filed separate complaints with the Election Commission of India for violating the model code of voting.
The BJP raised serious concerns about Cabinet Ministers Jitendra Awhad (NCP), Yashomati Thakur (Congress), and Sena legislator Suhas Kande for violating the model code for voting. The Shiv Sena
and Congress also raised concerns about BJP legislator and former Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar and independent legislator Ravi Rana. The BJP has fielded three candidates for the six Rajya Sabha seats, the Shiv Sena has two, and the NCP and Congress have one each.
The counting was halted while the ECI, State Chief Electoral Officer Shrikant Deshpande, election observer and Returning Officer Rajendra Bhagwat held a marathon meeting to discuss the objections raised by both parties and to inspect the video footage. Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, former State Minister Anil Bonde and former MP Dhananjay Mahadik ran for the BJP. Sanjay Raut and Sanjay Pawar were the Sena candidates. The NCP ran Praful Patel, while the Congress ran Imran Pratapgarhi.
"Jitendra Awhad (NCP
), Yashomati Thakur (Congress
), and Sena legislator Suhas Kande all violated the model voting code. We have filed an appeal with the Indian Election Commission, requesting that their votes be declared invalid "said a BJP leader from the state
claimed that Awhad and Thakur gave their ballots to party agents rather than simply showing them the ballots, while Kande showed his ballot to two different agents. "The Election Commission must grant permission for the counting. Officials have requested permission via email to the ECI. It should be granted in a reasonable amount of time "Eknath Shinde, a Sena minister, stated.