Tough task ahead for BJP in Maharashtra bypolls to be held on May 28 | india news | Hindustan Times
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Tough task ahead for BJP in Maharashtra bypolls to be held on May 28

The BJP is unlikely to get any support from its ally, the Shiv Sena, which has been critical of the party of late. According to sources privy to party strategies, the Sena may not field candidates.

india Updated: Apr 27, 2018 23:32 IST
Surendra P Gangan
BJP party flags at the party headquarter in New Delhi.
BJP party flags at the party headquarter in New Delhi.(Mohd Zakir/HT File Photo)

MUMBAI:

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could field state ministers for the May 28 bypolls to two Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra, aiming to foil its rival’s challenge and avoid a repeat of the party’s by-election loss in Uttar Pradesh this March.

The party may field state energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule from Bhandara Gondia, while tribal development minister Vishnu Savra may be its candidate for the Palghar constituency, said a BJP leader who doesn’t want to be identified.

Bawankule declined to say anything beyond specifying that his party enjoys strong public support because of the government’s development work in the past three years. The BJP is unlikely to get any support from its ally, the Shiv Sena, which has been critical of the party of late. According to sources privy to party strategies, the Sena may not field candidates.

Nana Patole represented Bhandara Gondia until he quit the BJP in December, necessitating a bypoll. The death of Palghar’s BJP parliamentarian Chintaman Wanga in March forced a by-election. The Bhandara Gondia seat is viewed as a major challenge for the BJP’s state leadership as Patole criticized its policies when he quit the party and joined the Congress.

Patole accused the BJP and the government of being anti-farmer — a charge the party would be happy to prove wrong in a state reeling from drought, farmer suicides and farm unrest.

A defeat will not only reduce the party’s tally of parliamentarians from the state but also give credence to Patole’s criticism of the party ahead of the 2019 elections.

The BJP and its main rivals, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), have intensified their campaign in both seats after the Election Commission announced on Thursday the bypoll dates — voting on May 28 and counting on May 31.

The challenge has become all the more intense for the BJP as the Congress and the NCP have decided to fight all elections together.