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Palghar only consolation for BJP, Shiv Sena puts up a brave face after loss

After the victory in Palghar, BJP leaders are hoping that its bitter ally Shiv Sea will now tone down its aggressive stance.

india Updated: May 31, 2018 23:00 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Palghar,BJP,Shiv Sena
BJP supporters celebrate after winning Palghar Lok Sabha bypoll.(HT/Mangesh Lade)

Maharashtra delivered a mixed bag of by-election results for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which retained the Palghar Lok Sabha seat by thwarting its ally Shiv Sena, but lost Bhandara-Gondia to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)-Congress alliance.

Even so, the victory in Palghar comes as relief for the BJP, whose leaders in the state are hoping the Shiv Sea will now tone down the aggressive stance it has adopted vis-a-vis its coalition partner. Bickering between the two parties isn’t likely to stop.

BJP’s Rajendra Gavit won the Palghar constituency bypoll by defeating Shiv Sena’s Shrinivas Wanga by more than 29,000 votes. The bypoll had become a prestigious contest for the BJP after the Sena fielded Wanga, son of BJP member of Parliament Chintaman Wanga, whose death necessitated the bypoll.

Gavit is a Congress turncoat. The constituency in Mumbai’s neighbourhood saw a bitter campaign with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at the forefront. There had been speculation that the Shiv Sena would pull out of the government if it managed to win the election.

Fadnavis pulled out all stops to ensure that the BJP retained the seat. Gavit won 2,72,780 votes to 2,43,206 for . Wanga. Local political group Bahujan Vikas Aghadi received 2,22,887 votes.

The result comes as a loss of face for the Sena, which made an abortive attempt to wrest a seat held by its ally. In fact, the seat always went to the BJP in seat-sharing arrangements between the two saffron allies for over two decades. The Sena broke convention, but its gambit failed to pay off.

By-election results
Voting was held on May 28 for four Lok Sabha and 10 assembly constituencies
LOK SABHA
ConstituencyWinsHeld by
Kairana (Uttar Pradesh)RLDBJP
Palghar (Maharashtra)BJPBJP
Bhandara- Gondiya (Maharashtra)NCPBJP
NagalandNDPPNPF
ASSEMBLY
ConstituencyWinsHeld by
Noorpur (Uttar Pradesh)SPBJP
Shahkot (Punjab)CongressSAD
Jokihat (Bihar)RJDJD(U)
Gomia (Jharkhand)JMMJMM
Silli (Jharkhand)JMMJMM
Chengannur (Kerala)CPI(M)CPI(M)
Palus Kadegaon (Maharashtra)CongressCongress
Ampati (Meghalaya)CongressCongress
Tharali (Uttarakhand)BJPBJP
Maheshtala (West Bengal)TMCTMC

Sena MP Sanjay Raut said the party proved a point by giving a tough fight to the BJP in Palghar. “We will win this seat in 2019 elections,”he told journalists.

Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray however, said, “I am not ready to accept this defeat because ‘saam, daam, dand, bhed (negotiation, money, punishment and division)’ were used to win the polls.” He called for the bypoll results to be held back however, the EC rejected this demand later in the evening.

BJP leaders are confident that Thackeray will not take the precipitate step of pulling out of the alliance.

“We don’t see any impact on the stability of the government soon. Remember we fought a bitter election for the Mumbai civic body over a year ago and still continued to be in alliance at the state level. Moreover, even if the Sena pulls out at some point of time, our government in the state will complete its full term,”said a senior BJP minister who did not want to be named.

The defeat in Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha constituency is a reverse for the BJP.

The constituency is in the Vidarbha region, which is seen as a BJP stronghold. NCP’s Madhukar Kukde won the seat with 2,70,471 votes to 2,43,204 votes for the BJP’s Hemant Patle The by-election was necessitated by the resignation of BJP MP Nana Patole, who crossed over to the Congress.

“The result reflects the sentiments of the people. They are not happy with the policies of the BJP governments at the Centre and in the state,”said senior NCP leader Praful Patel, who represented Bhandara-Gondiya in the past.

First Published: May 31, 2018 23:00 IST