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Friday, Nov 15, 2019

Maharashtra assembly election 2019: Both alliances to face rebels in 30 constituencies

Monday was the last day for withdrawing nominations for the assembly election in Maharashtra and Haryana which will be held on October 21.

assembly-elections Updated: Oct 08, 2019 12:12 IST
Ketaki Ghoge
Ketaki Ghoge
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis with Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray announces alliance between the two parties for the upcoming assembly election in the state, in Mumbai, Friday, Oct. 4, 2019.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis with Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray announces alliance between the two parties for the upcoming assembly election in the state, in Mumbai, Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. (PTI)
         

It appears that both the main alliances in Maharashtra - Congress-NCP and BJP-Shiv Sena - will face rebels in as many as 30 constituencies in the upcoming assembly polls.

Monday, the last day for withdrawal of nominations, saw hectic parleys by senior BJP leaders including chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Chandrakant Patil, to convince the rebels to back down from the contest. While many agreed – more than 50% of the seats had rebels until Monday – some have stayed their ground.

The final list of candidates shows the NCP and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena have entered into a tacit understanding to fight against the ruling party candidates in some seats. “NCP leader Ajit Pawar spoke to MNS chief Raj Thackeray to finalise a compromise of sorts. Our alliance is facing some rebellion from smaller parties as they have put in candidates where they expected but did not get the seats,” said a senior NCP leader.

A case in point is Kothrud in Pune, where Congress-NCP has backed MNS candidate Kishore Shinde as well as in Thane city, where they have again supported MNS’s Avinash Jadhav by withdrawing candidature of NCP’s corporator Suhas Desai. The Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) has put up candidates (in all three seats in Raigad) against the coalition alliance nominees.

The rebels are from within the parties or within the alliances. In case of the saffron allies, the BJP and Sena rebels have opposed the official coalition candidate. For instance in Mumbai, at least three seats will witness serious rebels in the fray. From Bandra East, sitting Shiv Sena MLA Trupti Sawant has rebelled against the party and is contesting as an independent against Sena candidate and Mumbai mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar. MNS’s Akhil Chitre and Congress’s Zeeshan Siddique, son of Baba Siddique, are the other candidates. The Bandra East constituency is crucial for Sena considering Thackeray family’s house Matoshree is here. In Versova, Sena’s sitting corporator Rajul Patel is contesting as an independent, posing a tough challenge for sitting BJP MLA Bharati Lavekar. Though Congress has fielded Baldev Khosa, the fight is expected to be between the two women candidates.

Sena’s legislator Ramesh Latke is facing rebellion from BJP’s former corporator Murji Patel, who is in the fray as independent from Andheri East.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region also has a raft of rebels in the poll contest.

In Kalyan West, Sena’s Vishwanath Bhoir is facing rebellion of BJP leader Narendra Pawar, sitting MLA who was denied ticket after the constituency was exchanged. In exchange, Shiv Sena leader Dhananjay Bodare has fielded himself against BJP’s Ganpat Gaikwad in Kalyan East. Similarly, Sena’s city chief Vijay Mane has challenged BJP’s Manda Mhatre by contesting as an independent. BJP’s Mira Bhayander MLA Narendra Mehta will face party’s former mayor Geeta Jain who is fighting as an independent.

In Boisar, turncoat Vilas Tare, former BVA MLA from Boisar who switched sides to the Sena, will take on BJP rebel Santosh Janate.

In Konkan, the Sena has given candidature against BJP’s Nitesh Rane, who joined the party late last week. The Sena has fielded Satish Sawant, who was till recently a close aide of the Ranes. BJP leader Sandesh Parkar has withdrawn his candidature filed as an independent to support Sawant. In adjoining Kudal, Sena’s sitting MLA Vaibhav Naik is facing Narayan Rane-led Maharashtra Swabhimani Paksha candidate Ranjit Desai, who is being supported by the BJP.

Vidarbha, too, has witnessed infighting between two ruling parties. Sena’s junior minister Sanjay Rathod (Digras) is facing rebellion by BJP leader Sanjay Deshmukh who is fighting as an independent. Sena’s Buldhana city candidate Gaikwad is facing rebel Yogendra Gode, a Shiv Sena leader. BJP’s Tumsar MLA Sharan Waghmare has turned rebel against party’s Pradip Padole after he was denied ticket. Similarly, BJP’s controversial MLA Raju Todsam is fighting against official candidate Sandeep Dhurve. BJP leader Rajesh Bakane has emerged rebel against Shiv Sena’s Samir Deshmukh in Devali constituency in Wardha. BJP leader and junior minister Madan Yerawar is facing rebellion by Shiv Sena’s Santosh Dhawale in Yavatmal. BJP’s sitting MLA from Akot (Akola) Prakash Bharsavale is facing rebellion by Shiv Sena’s Anil Gawande.

Many bigwigs in various parties heaved a sigh of relief after the rebels against them withdrew the nominations. Zubair Bagwa, NCP leader, withdrew his nomination against Praniti Shinde (Solapur), after Congress agreed to withdraw its official candidate against NCP’s Bharat Bhalke in Pandharpur. Bhalke was Congress’s sitting MLA and had recently joined NCP. Shekhar Gore, Shiv Sena leader from Mann Khatav, withdrew his candidature against BJP candidate and his brother Jaykumar Gore.