MUMBAI: Narayan Rane, former chief minister, Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar, the chairman of the legislative council, Dhananjay Munde, the opposition leader of the council, and seven others were elected unopposed to the Upper House of the state legislature after two candidates withdrew their nominations on Friday, the last day for pulling out from the race.
The withdrawals of Prasad Lad and Manoj Kotak, both from the Bharatiya Janaya Party (BJP), from the contest on Friday left only ten candidates for as many seats.
The biennial election was to be held on June 10.
Lad was the sixth candidate fielded by the BJP for the 10-seat elections while BJP’s Kotak filed his nomination as an Independent candidate. The other candidates who are to be elected unopposed include BJP’s Surjitsingh Thakur, Pravin Darekar, RN Singh, Shiv Sena’s Subhash Desai, Diwakar Roate, Sadabhau Khot (Swabhimani Shetkari Sangh) and Vinayak Mete (Shiv Sangram).
The BJP will gain the most in the biennial election as its tally will increase to 18 from 13 (at present). However, the NCP still holds the majority with 27 members.
The selection of candidates has also led to discontent in the BJP as of the five candidates, only one is from the party. Two candidates Khot and Mete are from smaller allies of the BJP while other two Darekar and Singh are ‘outsiders’, who are facing various allegations. Darekar left the MNS while Singh was a close aide of former minister Kripashankar Singh who is facing allegations of irregularities. It is the candidature given to Darekar and Singh that has irked many workers in the BJP. Vivekanand Gupta, secretary of BJP’s Mumbai wing, has openly revolted against Darekar as the latter is accused of an alleged embezzlement of funds of Mumbai District Central Cooperative Bank Limited as chairman. The election has also paved the way for Rane’s comeback.