Shiv Sena candidate Ravindra Phatak was elected to the Maharashtra legislative council, defeating senior NCP leader Vasant Davkhare by a margin of 151 votes in the Thane local bodies constituency.
The Sena, to prevent the poaching of its corporators by the NCP, had taken them to Goa and stationed them at an undisclosed location. NCP chief Sharad Pawar had personally campaigned for Davkhare, one of the prominent NCP leaders and an 18-time MLC.
The Sena-BJP-RPI teamed up to ensure Phatak’s win. This put to rest rumours that the CP was trying to wean away BJP corporators to vote for Davkhare.
Sena leader and PWD Minister Eknath Shinde said it was decisive victory for the Sena. “We have finally snatched this prestigious seat after 25 years,” he said.
This victory is important in view of the 2017 Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) where the Sena is expected to fight to retain its citadel. In the MLC elections, Phatak secured 601 votes while Davkhare trailed with 450. The voters include corporators of the Thane, Kalyan and Palghar local bodies.
Though the Sena-BJP-RPI did have a lead, the role of the 72 independent corporators was vital. The Hitendra Thakur-led Bahajan Vikas Aghadi had thrown their weight behind Davkhare.
Davkhare congratulated Phatak and conceded defeat.