With seven candidates, including two women, in the fray for the seven Rajya Sabha seats in Maharashtra, the stage is set for all getting elected unopposed, on the last day of filing nominations, here on Friday. Among the prominent leaders who have filed their nominations are Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar, Republican Party of India (A) President and Union Minister Ramdas Athawale and Bharatiya Janata Party's Chhatrapati Udayan Raje Bhosale, the 13th descendent of the Maratha warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
The others include Shiv Sena's Priyanka Chaturvedi, who had quit the Congress last year, AICC General Secretary and Congress leader Rajiv Satav, BJP's Bhagwat Karad and NCP's Fauzia Khan.
On the final day of filing nominations, only seven candidates remained the fray, the scrutiny will take place on March 16 and the last date for withdrawals is March 18, paving the way for all the nominees getting elected without a contest.
The retiring members are NCP's Pawar and Majeed Memon, Congress' Hussain Dalwai, Sena's Rajkumar Dhoot, BJP's Amar Sable and BJP-supported independent Sanjay Kakade.
Both the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) of Sena-NCP-Congress and Opposition BJP are contesting as per their respective strength in the 288-member assembly and all the candidates will sail through without necessitating a contest.
The requisite number for a RS seat is 37 votes and with the current party positions in the state, the Sena and Congress will get one each, NCP two and the BJP will get three, including Athawale who is supported by the party.
The MVA's total strength is 170, including Sena's 56, NCP's 54 and Congress' 44, while the BJP has 105 plus the support of around nine other MLAs.
While Pawar is renominated by NCP, the party has fielded a Muslim woman and a former minister Fauzia Khan for the second seat.
The Congress decided against re-nominating Dalwai and opted for a younger face, Satav, while the Sena has nominated a woman this time - 40-year old Priyanka Chaturvedi.
IANS had reported that she would be nominated to the RS after she quit the Congress during the Lok Sabha elections, Thackeray tied a 'Shiv Bandhan' on her wrist and welcomed her into the party as a deputy leader.
Barring Pawar and Athawale, the remaining five candidates anew face' with the respective parties decided against re-nominating the outgoing members.