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A total of 11 candidates are contesting for 10 MLC seats up for grabs (File)Mumbai: The Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) biennial elections on Monday will witness another contest between the BJP and Congress after recently concluded Rajya Sabha elections.A total of 11 candidates are contesting for 10 MLC seats up for grabs, with the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA allies) – Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress – fielding two candidates each. The BJP has nominated five candidates.While nine candidates are assured of a victory given their current strength in the state assembly, the main contest will be between Congress’s Mumbai President Bhai Jagtap and BJP’s Prasad Lad for the 10th seat.In the Rajya Sabha polls that was held for six seats on June 10, the BJP led by Devendra Fadnavis clinched all three seats by wooing MLAs of smaller parties and Independents and through clever vote allotment.In a setback to the MVA, BJP’s third candidate Dhananjay Mahadik defeated Sena’s second nominee Sanjay Pawar.Taking no chances this time, Congress and NCP leaders last week held a meeting with the Chief Minister to discuss the strategy for the election to the state Legislative Council.Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday executed confidence that there will be no split in the MVA and ruled out chances of cross-voting.”The defeat in the Rajya Sabha polls was unfortunate. The Shiv Sena votes were not split in the RS polls. We have an idea of what went wrong. MLC elections will show that there is no split among us,” he said. ” Mr Thackeray said.The effective strength of the 288-member Maharashtra House is reduced to 285 as three MLAs won’t cast their votes today.While one Shiv Sena MLA Ramesh Latke died recently, while two NCP MLAs Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik – currently in jail – were denied permission by the Bombay High Court to vote for the MLC polls.Each candidate requires the support of at least 26 MLAs to win, and the 29 MLAs of smaller parties or independents will play a crucial role in the elections.With 106 legislators, BJP can assure a win for four out of five seats. But for the fifth seat it needs defectors and independents and that is why their fifth candidate Prasad Lad is generating so much interest.With a strength of 106, the BJP can comfortably bag four of the five seats it is contesting. But it will need the support of defectors and independents for the fifth seat.The Sena with 55 legislators and NCP with 51 MLAs can easily win their two seats respectively, while the Congress with only 44 MLAs, will require at least eight first preference votes from Independents and other smaller parties for its second candidate Bhai Jagtap to get elected.

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