Maharashtra: BJP looks to retain Lok Sabha seats as Palghar, Bhandara-Gondiya vote today
The bypolls are being seen as a litmus test ahead of Lok Sabha and state Assembly polls in 2019.Updated: May 28, 2018 09:41 IST
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena will face each other today in a bypoll in Maharashtra’s Palghar, after weeks of bitter tussle between the governing allies.
By-elections will also be held in the Lok Sabha constituency of Bhandara-Gondiya. Both Palghar and Bhandara-Gondiya were BJP-ruled seats.The bypolls are being seen as a litmus test ahead of Lok Sabha and state Assembly polls in 2019.
The bypoll in Palghar was necessitated by the death of BJP MP Chintaman Wanga. The Bhandara-Gondiya bypoll is being held after former BJP MP Nana Patole resigned. Patole has now joined the Congress and is helping the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). The polls in Palghar have worsened ties between the already warring allies, as for the first time, the Sena fielded its candidate for the BJP’s seat. That candidate is Shrinivas Wanga, the son of the late BJP MP. The fight between the allies has overshadowed the other parties in the fray, including the Congress and Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA), led by Hitendra Thakur.
The Congress has fielded MP Damodar Shingda, while former MP Baliram Jadhav is BVA’s candidate. The BJP’s candidate is Rajendra Gavit, a former Congress minister who had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Palghar.
For the Bhandara-Gondiya seat, it is a straight fight between the BJP’s Hemant Patle and the NCP’s Madhukar Kukde — both former BJP MLAs who come from communities that dominate the constituency (Powar and Kunbi). The BJP is facing a tough contest here, as the Congress is in a pre-poll alliance with the NCP and is helping the latter take on the saffron party. The Sena is in neutral mode and has not fielded any candidate. The fight assumes significance as two arch rivals, NCP heavyweight Praful Patel and former MP Nana Patole, who has returned to Congress, have joined hands against the BJP. The NCP’s hope is to take back its bastion, once the stronghold of Patel.
First Published: May 28, 2018 01:32 IST