Will Governor Koshyari nominate ex-Congress leader Urmila Matondkar as MLC?

governor & Urmila Matondkar

The Masoom actress Urmila Matondkar, who had unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Mumbai North constituency on a Congress ticket, finally joined its ally, the Shiv Sena in a “hope” that she would be nominated as one of the candidates of Governor’s MLC quota to be filled soon.

The term of 12 legislators nominated to the Upper house from the Governor’s quota has expired in June this year. As per the Article 171 (5) of the Constitution, those nominated to the Upper house “shall consist of persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as the following, namely — literature, science, art, co-operative movement and social service.” However, over the years, it has been used to accommodate political nominees, which can be challenged by Raj Bhavan, if the nominated person does not fit the Constitutional requirement.

And if the Sena recommends Urmila as one of the members of the Upper House, it can be challenged as she was a hard-core Congress leader and contested the elections and now formally joined another political party with fanfare on Tuesday.

Political observers feel that Governor BS Koshyari’s nomination of 12 members of legislative council (MLC) could become the next topic of friction between him and the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government. It was said that to avoid any fresh confrontation, MVA has sought an opinion from the state’s advocate general to escape any legal hiccups after recommending the names.

Speaking about Thackeray recommending her name as one of the 12 nominated members, Urmila said, “Uddhav ji called and told me a beautiful thing that he wanted to uphold the social and cultural standard of Vidhan Bhavan. He said that he needed people like me. I consider myself fortunate.” It seems that she was promised for the post. But question is that whether Sena’s wish will be fulfilled by the Governor Koshyari?

The tussle between Raj Bhavan and the Thackeray government has been going on for past eight months. The friction started after Koshyari did not accept the state Cabinet’s recommendation to nominate Thackeray to the state Legislative Council. Later, Koshyari took a contrarian stand on the state government’s decision to not hold final-year exams. And if the Governor rejects the state cabinet list for the nomination of 12 MLCs, it would be another major tussle between the governor and the elected government of Maharashtra in coming days.

The MVA leaders still think Koshyari may raise an objection to some names and put the process on hold. The list of 12 names has been finalised by the three parties and was expected to be put before the state Cabinet. However, it was decided not to do so in light of the exchange of letters between Thackeray and Koshyari.

The government is seeking legal opinion on it before the Cabinet approves it and sends the names to the governor. The partners of state government also don’t want any legality to delay the filling of 12 vacant seats. Among the likely names from the NCP quota are Eknath Khadse, farmer leader Raju Shetti, singer Anand Shinde and Uttamrao Jankar.

While from the Shiv Sena’s quota former Lok Sabha member Chandrakant Khaire could be nominated. The Congress, meanwhile, could nominate party spokesperson Sachin Sawant, former MLA Arif Nasim Khan and its Pune leader Mohan Joshi. An option being considered is not sending all 12 names together. According to insiders, the three parties have received around 500 names to be considered for the 12 seats. It would be very interesting to watch the drama in the coming days!

M Charulata