Come June 25 and the Indian democracy’s biggest festival in the form of elections will deal a rather unsavoury blow to the exchequer. While every vote holds immense significance for pollsters, psephologists and politicos, it is the cost of one particular vote that could leave a bad aftertaste. According to a report in The Indian Express, the vote of Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik in the election to the Legislative Council of Maharashtra from Mumbai Graduates’ Constituency scheduled on June 25 will cost the exchequer a whopping Rs 53,000.
The cost includes Naik’s travel to Mumbai by air along with his aide and back. Apart from the Rs 53,000, there will be an additional cost of Z-plus security arrangements, the report said. On his part, the Governor had written a letter to the Election Commission (EC) asking that he be allowed to cast his vote using postal ballot that would have saved the money. However, EC had rejected the request saying that Naik would have to travel to Mumbai by air along with his aide for voting.
In his letter to the EC, Naik asked the poll body to issue standing instructions to ensure voters outside their constituencies can use postal ballot like in Parliament and Assembly elections, PTI quoted a Raj Bhawan spokesman as saying. ”Now I will have to go to Mumbai by air along with my ADC for voting which would cost Rs 53,000 in addition to the cost of the Z-plus security provided to me. I will do it to discharge my civil duty of casting the vote,” Naik said in the letter, his second in this regard.
Naik said that just like the elections to the Parliament and Legislative Assemblies of states, EC should issue enable voters away from their Legislative Council constituencies to cast their votes by postal ballot in the elections from Graduates’ Council Constituencies.
Biennial elections to the Maharashtra Legislative Council from two graduates’ and two teachers’ constituencies would be held on June 25, the Election Commission announced today. The term of MLCs from these four seats is ending on July 7. Of them, Health minister and Shiv Sena leader Deepak Sawant represents the Mumbai graduates’ constituency. Niranjan Davkhare, who represented Konkan graduates’ constituency, had resigned from his seat and quit the NCP to join the BJP.
The term of Kapil Patil (Lok Bharati) and Apurva Hiray (independent), who represented Mumbai and Nashik division teachers’ constituencies, respectively, is also ending. The notification for the election was issued on May 31. The last date for filing nomination papers was June 7, an EC release had said. The last date of withdrawal was June 11. Voting will be held on June 25 and the counting on June 28, it said.
The ruling alliance partners in Maharashtra, the BJP and the Shiv Sena, are set for a clash again in the biennial elections to the Legislative Council, after a bitter face-off in the Palghar Lok Sabha bypoll. The elections have assumed significance as the Shiv Sena has denied ticket to Deepak Sawant, the state health minister, from the Mumbai Graduates’ constituency which he represented for two consecutive terms. Besides, the election in the Konkan Graduates’ seat is also going to be keenly watched as sitting MLC Niranjan Davkhare last month quit the NCP to join the BJP. Total 71 candidates are in the fray for the four seats.
The ruling allies will clash in the Konkan and the Mumbai Graduates’ constituencies. Davkhare of the BJP will take on Sena’s Sanjay More in the Konkan Graduates’ seat. The NCP has fielded Najeeb Mulla, who has the support of the Congress and other like-minded parties. In the Mumbai Graduates’ seat, Vilas Potnis of the Shiv Sena is pitted against BJP’s Amit Mehta while the Congress and the NCP have lent support to independent candidate Rajendra Korde.