BJP-Sena set for another face off in Maharashtra council elections
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BJP-Sena set for another face off in Maharashtra council elections

Of the total four seats going for polls, the ruling allies have fielded their candidates against each other on three seats

mumbai Updated: Jun 09, 2018 01:05 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
BJP,Shiv Sena,NCP
The polls, which are to be held on June 25, will see the saffron allies take on one another.(HT FILE)

The two-hour long meeting between Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has not managed to thaw relations between the saffron allies for the upcoming legislative council polls. The polls, which are to be held on June 25, will see the saffron allies take on one another.

Of the total four seats going for polls, the ruling allies have fielded their candidates against each other on three seats. The seats comprise Mumbai graduates’ and Konkan graduates’ constituencies and Mumbai teachers’ constituency. All the four seats will witness a multi-corner contest as parties like the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) and Lok Bharti Party, too, are in the fray, making it a tough contest for all the candidates.

However, the NCP, PWP and Lok Bharti have joined hands to take on BJP-Sena in the polls. The Congress, which does not have any stake in these elections, has come out in support of its allies.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has announced polls for teachers’ and graduates’ constituencies with two members each elected to the upper house. Teachers will elect their representative from Mumbai and Nashik divisions, while graduates will have opportunity to send their representatives from Mumbai and Konkan divisions. The last day for filing nominations was June 6.

The Shiv Sena has a stronghold in Mumbai but the BJP can play spoilsport, leading to further tensions between the allies. The BJP has pitted Dr Amit Mehta against Sena’s Vilas Potnis, for the graduates constituency in Mumbai, while the Congress and NCP have extended their support to PWP candidate, advocate Rajendra Korde. 14 candidates are contesting for the seat.

The BJP’s move is being seen as counter-strategy of the party after the Sena decided to field its candidate for the Palghar Lok Sabha constituency, held recently.

For Mumbai teachers’ constituency too, the BJP has fielded Anil Deshmukh against Sena’s Shivaji Shendge. The fight for this seat will be interesting considering Congress and NCP are supporting Lok Bharti candidate and sitting Member of Legislative Council (MLC), Kapil Patil. 12 candidates are in the fray for this seat.

“We have decided to extend our support to NCP, PWP and Lok Bharti candidates only to avoid the division of secular votes,” said Ashok Chavan, state Congress president.

For Konkan graduates’ constituency, the BJP is fielding outgoing MLC Niranjan Davkhare, who has recently shifted loyalty to the saffron party. Sena has fielded Sanjay More and NCP has declared Najeeb Mulla as its candidate for the fray. Mulla has got support from both Congress and PWP, which has a stronghold in Raigad. 22 candidates are contesting on the seat.

BJP insiders admitted that the polls for Davkhare have become tough for other reasons as well.

“Local BJP leaders such as Member of Parliament (MP) Kapil Patil and Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Sanjay Kelkar are not in his favour, which may bring trouble for him,” said a senior BJP leader requesting anonymity of name.

For Nashik teachers’ constituency, the Congress and NCP have again come together against BJP candidate Aniket Patil, son of former union minister and Congress leader Vijay Patil. The NCP has pitted Sandeep Bedse, former personal assistant of former deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal. In Nashik, 25 candidates are in the fray.

MLCs retiring on July 7 this year

Deepak Sawant (Shiv Sena) — Mumbai Graduates

Kapil Patil (Lok Bharati) — Mumbai Teachers

Niranjan Davkhare (NCP) — Konkan Graduates

Apoorva Hire (Independent) — Nashik Teachers

First Published: Jun 09, 2018 00:45 IST