Despite the change in leadership in Mumbai, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party managed to win three seats in the legislative council unopposed after the saffron combine backed out of the fray.
They include Pune, Satara-Sangli and one from Nanded, the hometown of former chief minister Ashok Chavan. Curiously, candidates of the saffron alliance from Pune and Nanded withdrew from the fray at the eleventh hour while it did not have candidate for the Sangli-Satara seat.
This also led to another controversy as Pune city Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief, Girish Bapat resigned from the party’s city unit president and state executive member in protest. Bapat tld HT: “I am not aware why the party’s candidate withdrew from the fray as I wasn’t told anything. I am a man of principles and will not tolerate this kind of action. Party leaders are free to take their decisions.”
The BJP’s Chandrashekhar Bhosale, withdrew his candidacy from the Pune seat without consulting the party, which led to the unopposed victory of the NCP’s Anil Bhosale, a staunch supporter of deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar. Similarly, Sena candidate in Nanded, Bapurao Wankhede opted out on Friday. He was contesting opposite Amar Rajurkar, a close associate of Ashok Chavan. However, a real threat for Rajurkar was Congress candidate Pratap Chikhalikar-Patil. He, however, also withdrew his candidature.
BJP’s state general secretary Vinod Tawde said the party decided to withdraw its candidate because it failed to gather an expected strength of voters.
“The decision has been taken at the state level to avoid horse trading and avoid the misuse of money,” Tawde said. Sena leaders were unavailable for the comments.
For Ashok Chavan, the election came as a moral booster. His party won six out of the eight assembly seats in Nanded district.