Uddhav govt to finalise list of 12 names for Legislative Council from Governor’s quota amid speculations that Fadnavis’s arch rival Khadse could quit BJP.

Former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s party colleague and arch rival Eknath Khadse could be nominated for the state Legislative Council by Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government. The Sena-Congress-NCP is likely to finalise its list of 12 recommendations for the Legislative Council from the Governor’s quota – a contentious issue between Thackeray and Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari – by this evening. Sources said that Khadse could find himself in the NCP’s list of recommendations. The three coalition partners will recommend four members each.

If Khadse does get recommended for the Legislative Council by the MVA, it will be the second jab to Fadnavis from the Thackeray government in a matter of a week. On Sunday, Thackeray junked the Fadnavis government’s decision to construct a Metro car shed at Aarey Colony and shifted it to Kanjurmarg. By sending Khadse – who has publicly claimed that Fadnavis attempted to end his political career – to the Legislative Council, Thackeray can claim a scoreline of 2-0 against Fadnavis.

The talk of the MVA recommending Patil gained momentum when Shiv Sena veteran and Minister of State for Water Supply and Sanitation Gulabrao Patil told reporters that Khadse would be switching parties soon. “While I don’t know who Khadse is in touch with, it certainly is true that he will change his party,” Patil said.

Khadse vs Fadnavis

Eknath Khadse resigned as Revenue Minister from Fadnavis’s cabinet in 2016 over allegations of corruption. The BJP did not give him a ticket to contest the 2019 state elections, and sidelined him from party work. Blaming Fadnavis for his downfall, Khadse said that Fadnavis had plotted defeats of his daughter Rohini and Pankaja Munde in the state polls, and that he (Fadnavis) was out to “eliminate his rivals” within the BJP.

Khadse was not available for comment, and leaders of the MVA were not willing to comment on the development. “Nothing has been finalised,” the NCP, Sena and the Congress leaders said when contacted regarding the list.

Koshyari’s role

BJP veteran Koshyari, who took over as Governor of Maharashtra in 2019, was accused by the MVA of blocking Uddhav’s attempts to get nominated to the Legislative Council from the Governor’s quota after last year’s state polls. The MVA recommendations for the 12 Legislative Council seats could trigger a fresh round of controversy between the Governor and the chief minister, who are already sparring at the decision to open the places of worship.

Under Article 171 of the Constitution, the Governor can nominate members to the legislative council from the fields of literature, science, art and social service. Social service has a wider scope and political leaders have been using that category to get nominated. While a section of constitutional experts say it is the Governor’s decision alone, others argue that she/he must to go by the recommendations of the state cabinet.

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