With the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena deciding to remain neutral, the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party are up in arms against BJP leader Gopinath Munde and met on Sunday evening to ensure NCP candidate Dhananjay Munde’s victory in the legislative council by-poll to be held on Monday.
With a clear majority in the state assembly, both ruling parties have not only assured the victory of Dhananjay, but are also touted to win a few opposition votes.
By withdrawing both its official candidates on the last day to withdraw candidature, BJP – the main opposition party in the assembly – admitted to not having enough strength to ensure victory of its candidates. The party instead decided to back independent candidate Prithviraj Kakade, whose family has had a political feud with NCP chief Sharad Pawar for a long time.
It was supposed to be a fight between BJP’s Gopinath Munde and his estranged nephew and NCP’s official candidate Dhananjay Munde. Since the council member has to be chosen from among the assembly legislators and the number of votes required for a candidate’s victory is 145, the ruling parties claimed that the victory was obvious. Senior NCP leaders also claimed that a few BJP MLAs were likely to vote in favour of the NCP candidate.
Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar reportedly spoke to top Sena leaders to seek their support in making sure the NCP candidate gets elected unopposed as both the major opposition parties had decided to not field their candidates. To ensure a clean sweep for Dhananjay, Congress and NCP on Sunday evening convened a meeting of MLAs of both parties, associate members, and parties supporting them. The ruling parties then claimed that their tally would reach 180. “MLAs of smaller parties such as the Samajwadi Party and Jansurajya Party are supporting our candidate,” said an NCP leader.