Maharashtra council polls round 2: BJP, Sena to clash once again
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena are likely to engage in a face-off again over the upcoming elections to the upper house of the Maharashtra assembly, following their recent tussle during the legislative council polls for six seats.
The elections to the upper house, to be held on June 25, are likely to widen the rift between the allies-turned-foes.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has announced polls for the teachers and graduate constituencies, two members from each who will be elected to the upper house. The teachers will elect their representatives from Nashik and Mumbai divisions, while graduates will do so from Mumbai and Konkan divisions.
The BJP has announced Niranjan Davkhare, the outgoing member of legislative council from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), as its candidate after he shifted his loyalty to the saffron party early this week.
The Shiv Sena is planning to field a candidate against Davkhare, while the Peasants and Workers Party (PWP), which has stronghold in Raigad, has supported the NCP in the constituency. Controversial Thane corporator Najib Mulla is likely to be the NCP candidate while Sena leader Pratap Sarnaik is eyeing the candidature for his son. Varun Sardesai, another Sena leader is also a probable contestant. PWP leader Jayant Patil’s daughter-in-law may be the NCP candidate from the constituency.
“Local BJP leaders including its MP Kapil Patil, MLA Sanjay Kelkar are against the candidature of Davkhare, who is also likely to face the discontent of other aspirants in the party,” said a BJP leader, who wished to remain anonymous.
Jayant Patil denied the possibility of his daughter in law’s candidature and said that his party has pledged support to the NCP.
In Mumbai, the BJP plans to field candidates in both constituencies against the Sena which has a traditional stronghold in the area. The Sena’s candidate in the graduate constituency is public health minister Deepak Sawant. In the graduate constituency, the sitting MLC Kapil Patil of Lok Bharati, likely to get support from the Congress and the NCP, will face competition from the BJP’s Anilkumar Deshmukh and the Shiv Sena’s Anil Shendge.
In the Nashik teachers’ constituency the BJP has announced Aniket Patil, son of former union minister and Congress leader Vijay Patil, as its candidate. The NCP has announced Sandeep Bedse, who was at one point personal assistant to former deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal.
“The equations in Nashik have changed after Bhujbal was released on bail. He is likely to play a key role like he did in the recent biennial elections for local bodies. The Shiv Sena’s strong hold over the city may strengthen further with Bhujbal’s support. In Mumbai and Konkan, it is going to be a face-off between two ruling partners, similar to what happened in recent elections in Palghar,” said an NCP leader, on the condition of anonymity.