The Legislative Council polls came to a thrilling end on Thursday with a win for the ruling allies, the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). The Shiv Sena paid for their win by losing a seat.
The Congress won four seats including one sponsored independent candidate, Vijay Sawant. The NCP won three, the BJP two and the Sena just one. With 11 candidates contesting for 10 seats, Sena’s official candidate and executive president Uddhav Thackeray’s aide, Anil Parab, became the fall guy. He failed to get the required 27 votes.
The result—in which the Congress and NCP managed to get one seat more than their capacity—is seen as a political victory
ON THE SIDE
When Sena celebrated too soon
The elections went on until the 8th round of counting of preferential votes. Somewhere in between, the Sena started celebrating after somebody said that both its candidates had won and Congress’ Vijay Sawant had lost. Some Sena leaders even started taking potshots at the CM on television channels. However, they halted their celebrations when they found that counting was not over.
Bhujbal hates being pushed around
NCP leader and Deputy CM Chhagan Bhujbal was angry because he was almost pushed down the Vidhan Bhawan staitcase by ecstatic Congress workers who were eager to get out and celebrate.
MNS legislators were tightlipped over who they voted for. One of them, Ram Kadam, remarked that elections had proved that politics in Maharashtra was incomplete without MNS.
for CM Ashok Chavan and Water Resources Minister Ajit Pawar. “I am happy. Party president Sonia Gandhi chose the right candidates,” Chavan said. He feigned ignorance about Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) voting for Sawant.
The Congress, NCP, Sena and BJP, had the votes to get seven candidates on their own. The election of the remaining three candidates depended on the surplus votes each party had and the number of votes it could draw from smaller parties and Independents.
The ruling allies won seven seats together because they had the advantage of being in power in the state. They wooed smaller parties and Independents and also stayed out of the way of each other’s candidates.
The NCP surprised many by getting 29 additional votes. Ajit Pawar and Public Works Minister Chhagan Bhujbal convinced SP and Jan Surajya Party, and some Independents to vote for NCP. “It’s a gift for our party on the 11th foundation day. We stood by the understanding with our ally, Congress, and this win is a result of that,’’ said Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, admitting that the MNS had voted for NCP.
A bitter Sena, which needed nine more votes to win the second seat, made allegations of horse-trading. There were rumours that Rs 75 lakh to Rs 1 crore were offered to legislators. “We were unable to get the required number of votes because we did not resort to horse-trading,” said Sena leader Diwakar Raote. The BJP also got one more seat.