After Shiv Sena, NCP backs MES candidate for Belgaum bypoll
After the Shiv Sena, its coalition partner Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) too has extended support to Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) candidate Shubham Shelke in Belgaum Lok Sabha by-election in Karnataka. Maharashtra NCP chief Jayant Patil visited Belgaum on Friday to support Shelke in the bypoll necessitated after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Suresh Angadi died due to Covid-19 in September last year.
Belgaum has a significant number of Marathi-speaking population which has been struggling for half a century for inclusion in Maharashtra. MES, which represents this population, fielded its candidate opposite candidates from the BJP and Congress. It has contested elections in the past and has elected members to the Karnataka Assembly.
Patil reached Belgaum a day after the Sena extended full support to Shelke for the bypoll scheduled on April 17. Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut even held a public rally and a roadshow for Shelke on April 15.
Patil accused the BJP of working against the interest of the Marathi-speaking population in Belgaum. “The BJP is not standing with Marathi-speaking people. This has been proved after Devendra Fadanavis (Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra) visited Belgaum and campaigned against MES candidate Shubham Shelke. Fadnavis has always tried to please those sitting in Delhi and doesn’t talk in Maharashtra’s favour,” said Patil who is also Maharashtra water resources minister.
Patil was referring to Fadnavis’s campaign to support BJP candidate Mangala Angadi, wife of a former MP, on Thursday. Fadnavis had slammed the Sena and said that Raut had come to Belgaum to target “Hinduism” by playing language politics, and added that Marathi-speaking people should teach him a lesson.
Meanwhile, Pandharpur-Mangalwedha Assembly seat in Solapur in Maharashtrais, which will see a fight between NCP and BJP, is going for bypoll on April 17. Counting of votes will be held on May 2 and results will be out on May 4.
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