MUMBAI: The biennial elections for 10 seats to the state legislative council became complicated on Tuesday with the BJP fielding six candidates. In a twist, Manoj Kotak, a rebel BJP candidate, filed his nomination as an Independent candidate. There is also resentment among the aspirants within the BJP that the party has given most seats to turncoats and allies.
The ruling party has decided to field RN Singh and Prasad Lad on the last day of filing nominations — May 31. It has already declared four candidates — Surjitsingh Thakur, Pravin Darekar, Sadabhau Khot (Swabhimani Shetkari Sangh) and Vinayak Mete (Shiv Sangram) for the elections to be held on June 10.
With the BJP’s move, the total number of candidates in the fray has gone up to 12 that will contest for 10 seats.
Singh’s chances of getting elected unopposed have been dimmed with the entry of Lad.
With increased numbers in the Assembly, the BJP was supposed to go with five candidates, but later it fielded six candidates instead. Shiv Sena’s eight additional votes are likely to help the BJP.
Chief minister Devendra Fadanvis is not in favour of unopposed elections and wanted to take chances for the sixth seat, party sources said.
“It is a known fact that many senior Congress leaders are not happy with candidature of Narayan Rane. Since it is a secret ballot election, there is no harm in taking chances,” said a senior party functionary.
Many BJP aspirants, who did not get party nominations, expressed anguish over giving tickets to the three turncoats. Darekar was in the MNS, Lad in the NCP and RN Singh in the Congress before they joined the BJP. Further, the party fielded leaders from the allies — Khot and Mete — for two seats. The unhappiness was evident with party leader Manoj Kotak filing nomination as a rebel candidate.
On the other hand, state Congress leaders are also not happy with the NCP as the party had removed Shivajirao Deshmukh from the post of council chairman last year. This time the NCP needs Congress’s support to get elected its candidates. Each candidate needs 27 votes to register victory in the polls. With the cadidature of Darekar, the BJP is also facing open resentment.